Metropolitan Water Plan
The NSW Government's Metropolitan Water Plan outlines the mix of measures that ensure Sydney, the Illawarra and the Blue Mountains have enough water now and for the future. The Metropolitan Water Directorate leads a whole-of-government approach to implementing and updating the Metropolitan Water Plan.
The Metropolitan Water Plan is reviewed periodically. These reviews enable us to adapt to challenges such as our highly variable climate, droughts, climate change and a growing population, and to update the plan taking account of the latest data, techniques and research.
The 2010 Metropolitan Water Plan (PDF) builds on the significant achievements of past plans by continuing to concentrate efforts on four major areas:
- 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 volumes to 70 billion litres of water a year by 2015, or 12 per cent of our water needs.
- Desalination- operating the award-winning 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 storage 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 by 2015, or 24 per cent of Sydney’s water needs.
Additional important measures in the 2010 plan include:
- Environmental flows from Warragamba Dam – The Warragamba Dam Environmental Flows Options Assessment Project 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 will move into its second phase, investigating techniques to improve the way we build extended drought periods into climate modelling.
- Water for Life – communication, education 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, look at Chapter 8 of the 2010 plan (PDF).
The 2010 Metropolitan Water Plan is underpinned by community planning principles developed during this consultation.