Water management

Water management

Water Sensitive Sydney Summit

The Water Sensitive Sydney Summit took place on 21 February 2018.

Representatives from government and business, developers and researchers discussed the immense challenges of water management. This was discussed in the context of a growing population, ageing infrastructure, a warming climate and the need to maintain affordability and equity for Sydney’s diverse communities.

The event coincided with a NSW Government review into the economic and regulatory barriers to recycled water schemes.

The summit also led to a much broader discussion about embedding water sensitive principles into our city’s planning, infrastructure and operations.

Download the summit summary.

Improving water efficency

Decentralised water is about improving the way water is being used for buildings and operations, sourcing water locally for non-drinking purposes and the quality of our waterways.

Sydney Harbour coastal management program

We’re committed to improving the quality of local waterways 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.

Rethinking water use

Our current water strategy is to build large dams, hope for rain, treat all water to drinking quality, pump it all the way to the city and then only drink 2% of it.

Even if we add the amounts used for showering and cooking, drinking water requirements equal no more than half of our total water consumption.

The other half is used for things like flushing toilets, air conditioning and watering parks and gardens – these jobs don’t need such high quality water.

Also, more than half the water infrastructure in the local area is more than 70 years old.

The current water network is inefficient, unsustainable and highly sensitive to climate change.

It’s time to rethink how we deliver Sydney’s drinking and non-drinking water supplies.

Making plans

We've worked closely with a huge range of industry partners including Sydney Water, to come up with a solid master plan that will ensure the local area’s water needs are met sustainably.

We are thinking locally, rather than relying on large-scale remote solutions. Localised management of water, wastewater and stormwater is a major part of the plan.

The best solution for Sydney is based on water efficiency, recycled water options, a reduction in stormwater pollution and cost. The plan details how we aim to bring together these solutions, where they should be located and how they will perform.

Please note: Our decentralised water master plan is a supporting document to our Environmental Action 2016–2021 strategy and action plan, which is the City's most up-to-date set of environmental targets and actions.

Last updated: Thursday, 19 March 2020