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Water Planning for Sydney
Water planning for Sydney

Water for people and water for the environment

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Community consultation

Community consultation was a key input to developing the 2010 Metropolitan Water Plan. Two phases of community consultation were undertaken as part of the review of the 2006 Metropolitan Water Plan to ensure community participation in developing the new plan was meaningful.

Two phases of community consultation were undertaken as part of the review of the 2006 Metropolitan Water Plan to ensure community participation in developing the new plan was meaningful.

  • Phase 1 - involved a series of workshops for community, and key metropolitan and catchment stakeholders, and a publicly available online survey to identify values of high priority to the community in planning for Sydney's water future. You can download the final report (PDF) and summary of findings (PDF).
  • Phase 2 - involved community members and stakeholders in discussion around the proposed mix of measures for the 2010 Plan.

The Metropolitan Water Independent Review Panel provided advice on how community views could best be integrated into ongoing planning for the supply and demand balance. Panel members also attended community engagement workshops to provide insight, expert knowledge and oversight to our consultation process.

Community planning principles were developed from the findings of the Phase 1 consultation and validated during Phase 2. These principles continue to underpin the way in which the 2010 Metropolitan Water Plan is delivered.

Community Input Phase 1

The objective of Phase 1 of the community consultation was to establish the values of high priority to the community and stakeholders in planning for Sydney’s water future.

There was strong consistency in the findings across all the workshops, online survey and existing research. Three key values emerged:

  • having a safe and dependable water supply for homes
  • considering the needs of future generations in decision-making and water planning
  • ensuring human needs for water are balanced with those of the environment.

The completed findings from Phase 1 were condensed into seven key planning principles, which were used in assessing options during Phase 2 of the consultation and now underpin the way in which the 2010 plan is delivered.

These and other important issues raised are outlined in the summary of findings (PDF). You can also download a full copy of the final report (PDF).

The first phase of the community consultation included 10 workshops across greater Sydney, on values and attitudes to water use and management.

Community Input Phase 2

Phase 2 of the community input was run in late 2009. The aim was to involve the community in discussion around the proposed supply and demand management options for the 2010 Metropolitan Water Plan, including consideration of the community planning principles developed from the findings of Phase 1.

Phase 2 involved three one-day workshops; two attended by community representatives and one with stakeholders and opinion leaders (participants from Phase 1 were invited to participate in Phase 2 – 70 percent attended).

The key findings included:

  • endorsement of the community planning principles – developed from the Phase 1 consultation findings
  • continued agreement that everyone is responsible for saving water (i.e. government, industry, and the public) – water efficiency initiatives are crucial
  • overwhelming support for environmental measures (e.g. environmental flows and river system improvements) – reducing environmental flows during droughts was seen as a decision of last resort
  • support for a simplified drought restrictions regime by the majority of participants (two levels of drought restrictions on top of the Water Wise Rules) – also strong support for introducing drought restrictions earlier (at higher total dam storage level) and maintaining them for longer
  • supporting the use of the desalination plant as long as the focus remained on water efficiency and recycling initiatives
  • strongly held view that education and empowerment are fundamental to the delivery of water supply and demand measures and that the provision of information must be transparent.