How we’re saving water

Building resilience to climate change and extreme weather.

Related to Water management
A path running through a suburban park

Our work

We have a series of projects underway that will save water and build resilience to climate change and extreme weather. By taking these steps now, we will:

  • safeguard our water supplies
  • drought-proof our city to ensure we can use water when it’s hot and dry
  • keep our city cool
  • reduce stormwater pollution
  • minimise local flood risk
  • protect the health of our waterways, green spaces and wildlife.

Our water management approach involves:

  • using less water through changes in behaviour and using water-efficient fixtures and fittings
  • capturing alternative water sources to recycle and use for non-potable purposes
  • retrofitting the stormwater management network with features such as raingardens, wetlands and pollutant traps to reduce pollution entering stormwater run-off.

We also provide support to drought-affected local councils in regional NSW.

Water efficiency

To protect water, we need to be smart with how we use it. We are taking steps to use water more efficiently by:

  • installing smart meters to detect and fix leaks in our parks and properties
  • retrofitting our high water-using assets including buildings, aquatic centres and park irrigation systems with efficient fixtures.

Recycled water

Recycled water plays an important role to achieve our conservation target and secure the precious resource to enhance greening, urban cooling and liveability.

We’re connecting our parks and buildings to alternative water supplies such as harvested stormwater and rainwater, including in the Green Square town centre, Sydney Park, Pirrama Park, Prince Alfred Park, Harold Park and Alexandria Oval.

We’re actively pursuing recycled wastewater opportunities in our urban renewal areas including Green Square and in the city centre. These areas provide the density and scale required for more efficient investment in recycled water infrastructure as well as allowing infrastructure to be planned and installed at the time of development. This is cheaper and more efficient than retrofitting.

Private utilities have already installed precinct-scale schemes at Central Park and Barangaroo, as well as a number of building-scale schemes across the local area.

As part of the light rail construction, recycled water pipelines were installed along George Street between Circular Quay and Central stations. This provides an invaluable opportunity to develop a recycled water scheme to connect the city’s highest water demand area with a recycled water source.

It is envisaged that wastewater could be collected in the city and treated to produce recycled water for non-potable uses such as irrigation and cooling tower use.

Stormwater management and flooding

Under the NSW Government's flood-prone land policy, we're required to manage flooding issues and put plans into place to safeguard flood-prone areas.

We have made significant investments in stormwater management infrastructure to mitigate local flooding and improve stormwater water quality.

Coastal management and land use planning

We’re committed to improving the quality of local waterways and protecting our coastline and marine environments by reducing pollution that is discharged from stormwater outlets.

We’re working with our Sydney Harbour partners to create a Sydney Harbour coastal management program and with the Cooks River Alliance to create coastal management programs.

Coastal management programs identify issues and actions required to address them in a strategic and integrated way. They detail how and when those actions are to be implemented, their costs and proposed cost-sharing arrangements and other viable funding mechanisms.

Advocacy for fair recycled water pricing

Recycled water becomes even more critical as Sydney’s drinking water supplies continue to diminish. However current water pricing and policy makes investment in recycled water schemes complex and expensive. This is why we continues to advocate to the NSW Government for changes that will promote investment, innovation and competition in the recycled water market.

We commended the Independent Pricing and Regulatory Tribunal on some positive changes proposed during its 2019 review of recycled water prices for public utilities. These changes begin to recognise the external benefits of recycled water including enhanced liveability and improved environmental outcomes. Despite these positive steps, we will continue to advocate for further reforms required to ensure investment in recycled water schemes to drought-proof our city.