A NSW Government website

Greater Sydney Water Strategy

How the strategy was developed

The community is helping shape the future of Sydney’s water.

Children playing in the water at Darling Harbour, NSW.

The NSW Government has developed the Greater Sydney Water Strategy, which charts a direction for delivering sustainable and resilient water services to Greater Sydney, including the Illawarra and Blue Mountains, for the next 20 to 40 years. A draft of the strategy was on public exhibition from 29 September to 8 November 2021.

How we engaged

We engaged with a wide range of individuals and organisations, and many provided written or verbal feedback with diverse suggestions that have informed the development of the final Greater Sydney Water Strategy and Implementation Plan.

Read the submissions


481 Survey responses


41 Public submissions


4,500 Direct mailouts


3 Online information sessions


52 Enquiries


148 Information session attendees


17,000 Website visits


33 Social media ads


5,600 Click throughs


41 Print ads


587,000 Social media impressions


11 Mainstream media articles

700+ direct interactions with community members across six weeks

What we heard: key insights

Feedback indicated there is strong support for the Greater Sydney Water Strategy. Stakeholders were mostly positive about the initiative and its role in providing a long-term sustainable and resilient water supply. Key insights were:

Strong community support for water conservation measures to save drinking water and use water more efficiently

Significant support for more rainfall-independent water supplies including strong support for purified recycled water and moderate support for desalination
Support for ways to better reuse our water, including the potential for purified recycled water for drinking and increased stormwater reuse
Understanding from the community that future water supplies will rely on a mix of all the various water supply and water conservation options
Willingness to pay more on water bills to ensure Greater Sydney has enough water supplies independent of rainfall – noting more work will need to be done and there are regulatory processes in place to manage this
Support for sustainable water systems into the future that are resilient to extreme climate and weather events and manage growth
An understanding that the community needs to change the way it thinks about and uses water into the future including using water more wisely
Support for a mix of ways to protect and improve the health of Greater Sydney’s waterways including improved water treatment measures
Community ideas on how to create a cooler, greener and more liveable Sydney including more stormwater reuse, tree canopy coverage, better resource use and planning
A desire by Aboriginal/First Nations people to be more involved in decision making around water in Greater Sydney, with greater focus on cultural and economic opportunities and a need for protection of cultural sites and waterways
A willingness by local government stakeholders to continue to work with water authorities to assist in implementing the strategy, with more detail sought on ways they can be involved, specific projects and governance
More people strongly agree or agree with the priorities and actions in the draft strategy than disagree or strongly disagree

What we heard

What we heard report

Download the full community consultation — What we heard report (PDF, 1517.58 KB)

Next steps: monitoring, evaluation, reporting and improvement

Feedback on the draft Greater Sydney Water Strategy was used by the department to update the final strategy and inform the development of an implementation plan that sets out how the actions in the strategy will be delivered for the next 3 years. We will report on progress against actions in the Greater Sydney Water Strategy and update the Implementation Plan annually. We will regularly monitor whether the actions are achieving the strategy’s aims and whether there have been any changes in the factors that informed the strategy’s development.