Community consultations have begun on NSW’s 20-year statewide water strategy – the first of its kind – which has been designed to strengthen regional and metropolitan water services.
NSW Minister for Water, Property and Housing, Melinda Pavey, said the recent drought, which followed on quickly from the Millennium Drought, highlighted that water resources are coming under increasing pressure from a combination of population growth, changing industry and community needs, and a more variable climate.
“The government does long-term strategic planning for transport, land use and infrastructure, but this is the first time we’ve done it for water,” Mrs Pavey said.
“We have just come through one of the most extreme droughts on record, one many regional communities are still recovering from.
“Too many times in the past, once the drought breaks, the urgency and will to improve drought resilience and water security evaporates.
“We are not going to let that happen this time and will keep the momentum going as we continue to reform water management in NSW.
“We must manage scarce water resources through diversifying supply, including the building of new infrastructure, use of recycling and stormwater harvesting, and the use of new technology and innovation.”
One in three people in Australia live in NSW, and the population is projected to grow by around 2.1 million over the next 20 years. The population in regional NSW is also projected to grow by more than 300,000 people, with much of that growth in regional centres.
The draft strategy will help ensure a safer and stronger NSW.
Mrs Pavey said the draft strategy sets out the State Government’s key priorities and guiding principles that will inform future decisions on water management, and work in tandem with 12 Regional Water Strategies and two metropolitan strategies currently being developed.
“We want to hear from the community on how we can better secure safer water for our cities, towns, industry and the environment,” Mrs Pavey said.
The draft NSW Water Strategy is on public exhibition from 15 February to 28 March for the community to have their say. All feedback will inform the final strategy which will include an implementation plan and will be released by mid-2021.
For more information and to register your attendance, visit: https://www.industry.nsw.gov.au/water/plans-programs/strategy/have-your-say