Securing Sydney’s water supply as an engine of economic growth


The government of New South Wales today launched the Greater Sydney Water Strategy Project, an unprecedented 20-year roadmap to provide a safe, secure and sustainable water supply in Sydney, Illawarra and the Blue Mountains.

Water, Property and Housing Minister Melinda Pavey said the Strategy, now on public display, will guide water management through 2040 to support economic growth, meet the needs of the growing population and prepare for climate change.

“A secure water supply is vital and this plan ensures that we are able to support economic growth as we recover from the pandemic and lay the foundation for the future,” said Ms. Pavey.

“We need to plan now how our growing city and region will use water wisely, as Sydney’s population is expected to reach 7.1 million by 2041.

“During the most recent drought, our dam levels have depleted faster than we’ve seen since the record began – at a rate of 20% per year.

Fortunately, our dams are now full, but we must act decisively to ensure long-term sustainable water – exploring options for new water sources not dependent on precipitation, conserving more and doing more with less. . “

Consultation options in the draft strategy include:

  • Improve water recycling, leak management and water efficiency programs, which could result in water savings of up to 49 gigaliters per year by 2040.
  • Extension of a water saving program, which has been tested in over 1,000 households and has reduced water consumption per household by around 20% and saved nearly $ 190 per year on household water bills.
  • Consider operating the Sydney Desalination Plant full time to add an additional 20 gigaliters of water per year.
  • Expand or build new desalination plants to be less dependent on precipitation.
  • Investigate innovations in recycled water to improve sustainability.
  • Make more use of stormwater and recycled water to cool and green the city and support recreational activities.

The draft strategy also proposes improvements to the decision-making process for water restrictions to better reflect current conditions and forecasts.

“Instead of having inflexible trigger points, policymakers will use a new, holistic approach to take into account such things as rainfall, inflows into dams and dam depletion rates, water demand and water demand. weather forecasting, ”Ms. Pavey said.

“The Greater Sydney Water Strategy Project is a vital part of the NSW Government’s plan to develop the NSW economy and I encourage the community and industry to have a say. “

The Ministry of Planning, Industry and Environment will host public webinars and information sessions in September and October.

The Greater Sydney Water Strategy Draft will be on display until November 8, 2021. To read the strategy and provide commentary, visit


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