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Water Planning for Sydney
Water planning for Sydney

Water for people and water for the environment

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2010 Metropolitan Water Plan

The Metropolitan Water Directorate leads a whole-of-government approach to implementing and updating the Metropolitan Water Plan.

The Metropolitan Water Plan sets out the mix of water supply and demand management measures that ensures a secure, cost effective and sustainable water supply for greater Sydney. The Plan also aims to support liveable and resilient urban communities and helps protect the health of rivers impacted by water supply dams. 

The 2010 Metropolitan Water Plan builds on the significant achievements of past plans by continuing to concentrate efforts on four major areas to secure Sydney’s water supply now and in the future: dams, recycling, desalination and water efficiency.

  • Dams – with continued investment in maintaining and upgrading Sydney’s network of dams, which store more than 2,600 billion litres of water, to ensure they can continue to supply the majority of Sydney’s drinking water.
  • Recycling – with ongoing investment in water recycling and stormwater projects, including major schemes at Hoxton Park, Rouse Hill and Rosehill-Camellia, to boost recycled water capacity to 70 billion litres of water a year or 12 per cent of our water needs.
  • Desalination operating the desalination plant at full capacity to supply Sydney Water’s area of operations when total dam storage level is below 70 percent and continue to do so until total dam storage level reaches 80 percent - with 100 percent of its power needs offset by a wind farm near Bungendore.
  • Water efficiency – with continued investment in water efficiency programs, including rebates and business programs, and trialling new water efficient technologies to save 145 billion litres of water a year or 24 per cent of Sydney’s water needs.

Additional important measures in the 2010 plan include:

  • Warragamba Dam Environmental Flows Options Assesment Program – to enable a decision on long-term flows from Warragamba Dam.
  • Innovation – continued investigation and investment into new techniques and technologies, and developing water sources.
  • Research – climate change research can improve the way we build drought periods into climate modelling.
  • Water for Life – communication, engagement and capacity building will continue to play an important role in implementing the 2010 Metropolitan Water Plan.
  • Drought restrictions – new simpler restrictions, based on the Water Wise Rules, will be implemented should Sydney experience another drought.
  • Rare and extreme drought – a number of measures are available to be implemented in extreme drought to slow the depletion of dams. To find out more about the Government’s drought preparedness strategy, see Chapter 8 of the 2010 plan (PDF).

The 2010 Metropolitan Water Plan is underpinned by community planning principles developed during this consultation.

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