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Stormwater

Stormwater is rainwater that runs from roofs, roads, other hard surfaces and parks into stormwater drains. It then flows into creeks, the harbour and the ocean. Stormwater can be captured, treated and used for non-drinking purposes.

Stormwater is rainwater that runs from roofs, roads, other hard surfaces and parks into stormwater drains. It then flows into creeks, the harbour and the ocean.  Stormwater can be captured, treated and used for non-drinking purposes.

The NSW Government supports an integrated approach to stormwater harvesting, focusing on smaller, local schemes which provide an alternative water source but also deliver river health, water quality and flood mitigation benefits.

Currently in greater Sydney, treated stormwater is used to irrigate public parks, golf courses and sporting ovals, in cooling towers and for flushing toilets. Treated stormwater can, in certain circumstances, be a cost-effective local water supply that reduces demand for drinking water and helps stop pollutants entering our waterways.

To date, around 70 stormwater projects in greater Sydney have received financial and other support from the NSW Government. These schemes will save over two billion litres of water a year.

For example:

  • Willoughby Council through the development of ‘The Concourse’ in Chatswood CBD is undertaking a major stormwater reuse project which will save 103 million litres of drinking water a year
  • the King’s School has constructed a stormwater re-use scheme which takes stormwater off Pennant Hills Road, into storage tanks, and then re-uses it to irrigate eighteen of the school’s sporting fields
  • at Bronte Park, Waverley Council implemented a stormwater re-use scheme at Bronte to irrigate the parklands, for toilet flushing, pool cleaning and for cleaning public places
  • Centennial Parklands used a series of large ponds in the Parklands linked to each other to improve stormwater water quality, and re-use it in the equestrian centre and to irrigate sporting fields.

Water recycling projects 

To find projects that are underway or planned near you, view our stormwater map.

Video case studies

Most stormwater reuse occurs at a local level. Watch one of the several short videos that showcase local stormwater reuse schemes.

More information

To find out more about stormwater reuse, the NSW Office of Environment and Heritage has developed several publications. You can also visit the Sydney Water website. You can also find out more about stormwater guidelines here.