Report finds NSW water strategy delivering big wins

Communities across the state have reaped the benefits of the NSW Water Strategy, with the first progress report showing major milestones achieved just 12 months after its launch.

Communities across the state have reaped the benefits of the NSW Water Strategy, with the first progress report showing major milestones achieved just 12 months after its launch.

CEO of the NSW Water Sector, Jim Bentley, said the report demonstrates the NSW Government is delivering on its commitments and is leading the nation when it comes to innovative water management.

“The NSW Water Strategy is the state’s first-ever long-term plan for water, putting concrete actions in place to improve the security, reliability, quality and resilience of our most precious resource for everyone in NSW,” Mr Bentley said.

“We only launched the strategy 12 months ago, along with an implementation plan mapping out steps we could take immediately.

“Pleasingly, out of the 123 actions in the implementation plan, 96 per cent have either been completed, are ongoing or now in progress.

“This is a considerable achievement, one we should all be proud of. It means real results are being delivered to residents in our cities and regional towns, Aboriginal communities, farmers, water users and the environment.”

The Strategy’s major achievements over the last year include:

The release of the Greater Sydney Water Strategy

An unprecedented 20-year plan tackling the region’s water challenges, including droughts and a growing population, using the best possible mix of smart and innovative water solutions. These include improved efficiency, leakage management and water reuse programs to save Greater Sydney up to 49 billion litres of water a year by 2040. The Strategy also starts the process of forward planning to invest in our next rainfall-independent water source, so we can boost Greater Sydney’s drought resilience, maintain growth, water our parks and green spaces and support a liveable, prosperous city.

The release of the Lower Hunter Water Security Plan

A whole-of-government strategy ensuring the region has a secure, resilient and sustainable water future. The plan will invest in new sources like desalination, reduce the Lower Hunter’s demand for drinking water, increase water recycling, investigate an inter-regional connection with the Upper Hunter, and better prepare communities for future droughts.

Commencement of the NSW Water Efficiency Program

This includes the highly successful Washing Machine Replacement Trial, a program delivering new water saving washing machines to up to 3,000 social housing tenants from only $150 to reduce their cost of living while boosting energy and water efficiency.

Establishment of a dedicated Aboriginal Water Program

This Program will develop a state-wide Aboriginal Water Strategy and associated projects and programs that recognise the water rights and of Aboriginal people and improve water outcomes for Aboriginal communities, as NSW delivers on its commitments under the National Agreement on Closing the Gap.

The introduction of a new regulatory and assurance framework for local water utilities as part of the Town Water Risk Reduction Program

The NSW Government is ushering in a new era of collaboration, partnering with councils and local water utilities to improve water and sewerage services in regional towns across the state under its Town Water Risk Reduction Program. More than 80 local water utilities and 30 other stakeholders have co-designed a new framework, which sets a clear path forward for better policy and regulation.


Mr Bentley said the progress report signals the NSW Water Strategy is well on track, with even more to come over the next two years and beyond.

“We’ve also developed an implementation plan for 2022-2024, which includes some big initiatives,” he said.

“We’ll finalise the NSW Groundwater Strategy and start to deliver actions on the ground to sustainably manage and protect our state’s vast and precious groundwater resources.

“And for the first time, we’re developing a dedicated Aboriginal Water Strategy that recognises First Nations’ water rights and values and increases their access to and ownership of water. We know Aboriginal people have deep cultural and social connections to water which plays a key role in their caring for Country, and this Strategy is a huge step forward.”

Other programs and projects being progressed as part of the NSW Water Strategy implementation plan include developing Southern Floodplain Management Plans, 235 regional water and wastewater infrastructure projects under the $1 billion Safe and Secure Water Program, environmental water projects through the Northern Basin Toolkit initiative, the development of the 12 Regional Water Strategies, and more.

For more information and to read the NSW Water Strategy, the implementation plan and the progress report, visit NSW Water Strategy.

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