Water Planning for Sydney
Water planning for Sydney

Water for people and water for the environment

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Managing our dams

Continuing to improve the way we manage dams will provide more drinking water for us and better health for our rivers.

Greater Sydney has one of the highest per capita storage capacities in the world. Our network of 11 major dams will continue to provide most of the water for Sydney, the Blue Mountains, the Illawarra, the Southern Highlands and the Shoalhaven, even with increased water recycling and desalination.
The key challenges in managing our dams include:
  • a variable climate
  • the uncertainty of future impacts of climate change
  • minimising the environmental and economic costs of transferring water between dams
  • continuing to provide improved environmental flows to help protect downstream river health.

Here’s how we’re managing dams to provide more drinking water and help protect the health of our rivers and catchments:

  • We can now access water deep in Warragamba Dam, meaning more dam water is available should we need it during severe drought. 
  • New deep water pumps and pipes at Nepean Dam have been used to pump water to the Avon Dam and provide a more secure supply of water for the Illawarra. 
  • Modifications to a number of dams and weirs on the Shoalhaven and Upper Nepean rivers allow new variable environmental flow releases and fish movement up and down stream.
  • Water can be transferred from Tallowa Dam in the Shoalhaven to Sydney’s other dams to boost supply. 

To find out more visit the Sydney Catchment Authority website or view Chapter 3 (PDF) of the 2010 Metropolitan Water Plan.