A NSW Government website

Greater Sydney Water Strategy

About the Strategy

Providing Greater Sydney with a more sustainable and resilient water supply.

A beautiful autumn day on Sydney Harbour.

The NSW Government has developed the Greater Sydney Water Strategy, which charts a direction for delivering sustainable and resilient water services to Greater Sydney for the next 20 to 40 years, servicing a growing Greater Sydney, including the Illawarra and Blue Mountains, and safeguarding our city even in times of prolonged drought and extreme weather events. The strategy sets out priorities and actions for the delivery of water, wastewater, recycled water and stormwater services into the future to support a sustainable, liveable and productive Greater Sydney.

The strategy will

  • Increase our focus on water conservation and efficiency as an immediate and cost- effective response.
  • Make better use of our existing assets, such as how we operate the Sydney Desalination Plant.
  • Continue planning for new rainfall-independent supply sources to support growth and to reduce the risk of reaching low dam levels during drought. This includes options such as desalination and investigating recycled water where appropriate.
  • Make much greater use of stormwater and recycled water to cool and green the city and support recreational activities.
  • Invest in upgrades, new connections and leak management to address the risks posed by ageing water and wastewater systems and infrastructure.
  • Integrate our water and land use planning more effectively to incorporate sustainable water use into building and landscaping design.

The Greater Sydney Drought Response Plan was also prepared to complement the strategy, which describes the actions to be undertaken by the NSW Government, Sydney Water and WaterNSW in preparing for and managing future droughts.

To achieve this, we have developed objectives, resilience principles and priorities which will guide how the Strategy is delivered.


  • Support economic growth and community wellbeing by providing confidence in the sustainability of Greater Sydney’s water supply to meet growth and adapt to a changing climate to 2040 and beyond
  • Support delivery of the Greater Sydney Region Plan—A Metropolis of Three Cities and the Premier’s Priorities for greening the city
  • Identify the strategic pathways to ensure the right investment decisions are made at the right time in consultation with customers and the community
  • Set the pathways to identify highest economic value and most affordable investment portfolios for water infrastructure

Resilience principles

  • Use what we have better
  • Increase integration and interconnection
  • Diversify supply sources
  • Plan ahead
  • Review and adapt


  • Priority 1: We understand how much water we need and when
  • Priority 2: Our water systems are sustainable for the long term and resilient to extreme events
  • Priority 3: Our city is green and liveable
  • Priority 4: Our waterways and landscapes are healthy
  • Priority 5: Water management and services meet community needs

Long-term water strategies

The Greater Sydney Water Strategy is part of a suite of long-term water strategies including 12 regional and two metropolitan water strategies which set out the approach to maintaining and building the resilience of the state’s water resources, including in response to climate variability and change.

How the NSW Water Strategy and regional and metropolitan water strategies interact
Relationship between the NSW Water strategy, twelve regional water strategies and the two metropolitan water strategies.

Frequently asked questions

Find answers to frequently asked questions.

Contact us

If you have questions about the Greater Sydney Water Strategy, email water.enquiries@dpie.nsw.gov.au or call 1300 081 047.

Greater Sydney Water Strategy

Read the Greater Sydney Water Strategy.

Download PDF (15.7 MB)

Greater Sydney Drought Response Plan

Read the summary.

Download PDF (3.9 MB)