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The New South Wales Government has launched the Greater Sydney Water Strategy (GSWS), which is set to deliver a secure, sustainable and resilient water supply to communities across Sydney, the Blue Mountains and the Illawarra. 

New South Wales Minister for Lands and Water, Kevin Anderson, said the GSWS is a new approach to water security planning, that will support economic prosperity and underpin the growth, liveability and quality of life of the city.

“This is an unprecedented 20-year strategy designed to tackle the region’s water challenges – including droughts and a growing population – using the best possible mix of innovative water solutions,” Mr Anderson said.

“The GSWS is about being resilient, especially in the face of a more variable climate. Sydney’s population is set to grow to 7.1 million by 2041, which will put even more pressure on our water resources.

“The strategy makes it clear that we need to invest in additional water supply in the next five to ten years as well as improving water efficiency and conservation, to make better use of all our water sources and assets.” 

The GSWS aims to deliver:  

  • Improved water efficiency, leakage management and reuse programs to save Greater Sydney up to 49 billion litres of water every year by 2040
  • New flexible operating rules for the Sydney Desalination Plant that will increase resilience by allowing up to 20 extra billion litres of water per year to be produced – and more when needed
  • Options to expand the desalination plant, which could add another 90 billion litres per year, or a new desalination
  • Investment in treated reuse programs for watering trees, sports fields, cooling and greening the city, and industrial use
  • Smarter use of stormwater with integration into land use planning. In a first for the state, stormwater will be managed across the entire landscape, diverted into natural water channels and wetlands, and then treated as recycled water to green and cool Sydney’s West 

The strategy will also identify alternative pathways to increase water supply options through reuse programs and additional water from desalination. 

“The GSWS lays the groundwork for these, and many other exciting programs, initiatives and technologies, to start delivering big water wins for our city,” Mr Anderson said.  

“Water drives our economy and growth, maintains our parks and green spaces, sustains our health and wellbeing and supports a healthy environment. That’s why we’re planning and delivering new and resilient systems today to ensure Sydney continues to be green, liveable and prosperous.”

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