Planning for the Lower Hunter
Planning for the lower Hunter
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Planning for the lower Hunter

The Lower Hunter Water Plan was developed by the Metropolitan Water Directorate in close consultation with Hunter Water, government agencies, stakeholders and the community.  The plan was released by the NSW Government in 2014.

Workshops with the community and stakeholders, along with online engagement, provided valuable input as the Lower Hunter Water Plan was developed. The engagement process covered community values about water planning, a wide range of supply and demand options under consideration, and the cost, drought security and environmental trade-offs among potential portfolios (or mixes of measures) for the plan.

The existing dams in the lower Hunter (Chichester and Grahamstown) will continue to supply most of the region’s water needs. Transferring water between regions is also a core component of the Lower Hunter Water Plan. The existing two-way agreement with the Central Coast can facilitate better use of existing storages so that both regions are more resilient to cope with drought.

Groundwater from the Tomago and Tomaree sandbeds will remain an important source of drinking water for the region, in normal climate and in drought. Investigations into other potential groundwater sources will continue.

Household and business water efficiency initiatives and programs to minimise water losses from the water supply system will continue to play a vital role in saving water. These programs would be expanded in a drought to try to achieve even more water savings.

By adopting Water Wise Rules, we can make better use of our available water supplies every day.  If a drought occurs, water restrictions will further reduce water use so the water in storage lasts longer.

Using recycled water for non-drinking purposes makes our drinking water supplies go further.

Household rainwater tanks and stormwater harvesting initiatives allow all members of the community to play a part in water conservation.


Small-scale, temporary desalination units could be installed as a contingency measure to supplement water supplies during a very severe drought. The units would only be installed in a rare event, and would be removed when no longer required.

An annual monitoring and evaluation process supports reviews of the Lower Hunter Water Plan. This ensures it can adapt to changing circumstances and meet the ongoing needs of the lower Hunter community, providing water security during drought and reliable water supplies for business and population growth.