Water: actions for developers

Opportunities and requirements to protect the resource.

Related to Water management
View of Sydney's skyline

Development assessment officer

Speak to a development assessment officer about saving water.

phone number
02 9265 9333
email address
[email protected]

How developers can save water

Saving water isn’t just about using less water – it’s about being smarter with our water use.

A huge amount of water is used in buildings. Developers have an important role to play in planning for sustainability and securing and protecting Sydney’s water supply.

If you’re a developer, here are some of the things you can do.

Water requirements for new builds

Water is an important consideration for new buildings. It’s an opportunity to get things right at the start, to save resources and money later.

Developers should refer to the relevant planning controls guidance to make sure any water requirements are met.

You can also find guidance for development on Sydney’s streets on our Sydney streets technical specifications page, including drainage and stormwater drainage design.

Connect to recycled water

Recycled water is integral to our Sustainable Sydney 2030 vision. Connecting to recycled water for non-potable uses such as toilets, cooling towers and irrigation saves drinking water. It also means we can keep our parks and open spaces green and cool even during drought.

We're actively pursuing water recycling opportunities in our urban renewal areas. These areas provide the density and scale for investment in precinct-scale recycled water infrastructure. It also allows infrastructure to be planned and installed at the time of development, which is cheaper and more efficient than retrofitting.

Green Square is home to one of Australia’s largest residential stormwater harvesting and reuse schemes. Stormwater is harvested from the Green Square trunk drain and purified in a treatment plant housed in the Green Infrastructure Centre, saving up to 320 million litres of drinking water each year.

You can also connect to recycled water in Central Park and Barangaroo. These precincts collect and treat wastewater to provide recycled water for non-drinking purposes including toilets, laundry, irrigation and cooling towers.

Developers can connect to and use recycled water.

We installed recycled water pipes in the city centre as part of the light rail project. This means recycled water can be supplied to one of the highest water using areas of our city in the future. Cooling towers use up to 30% of water consumed in commercial buildings so tapping into recycled water will conserve precious drinking water.