A NSW Government website

Water Efficiency Program

BASIX water review

The NSW Government is reviewing the BASIX water standards to ensure water security and resilience during drought. 

Girl washing hands - Image credit: Richard Bulley

About the review

The NSW Building Sustainability Index (BASIX) sets standards for water, energy use and thermal performance for all new residential developments in NSW. It also applies to renovations valued at more than $50,000. The BASIX water standards play a crucial role in ensuring water security and resilience during drought.

Since BASIX was first introduced in 2004, there have been changes in how homes use water, community expectations for sustainability, our scientific understanding of climate change, and the government’s goals for managing water resources in cities. We are now reviewing the effectiveness of the BASIX water standards in this new context.

To assess the effectiveness of BASIX, the department commissioned the University of Technology Sydney’s Institute for Sustainable Futures. This marks the first review of BASIX water since 2006.

In Stage 1 of the review, we consulted with key stakeholders from water utilities and government. This involved collecting, collating and reviewing 255 relevant documents, available data, and conducting targeted interviews with stakeholders.


Stage 1 of the review has put forward 8 recommendations, which will guide the next stages of the BASIX water review and the development of an action plan:

  1. Retain BASIX water, improve its functionality, and consider expanding its scope in the next stage of the review.
  2. Consider embedding minimum water efficiency standards to expand the scope of the BASIX water saving objective and address water scarcity directly.
  3. Explore expanding the scope of BASIX to address integrated water management objectives linked to catchment and precinct planning.
  4. Investigate opportunities for improving compliance under BASIX water.
  5. Implement improvements to data collection and the BASIX water tool.
  6. Develop a communications and engagement plan to educate, build capacity, and improve engagement with BASIX water.
  7. Undertake wide stakeholder engagement, including with industry stakeholders, as part of any expansion of the scope of BASIX water
  8. Develop a MERI (monitoring, evaluation, reporting, and improvement) plan for BASIX water that links to the new Sustainable Buildings SEPP.

Basix water review – Stage 1 report

Download the report

Have your say

If you would like to provide feedback about Stage 1 of the BASIX water review, email water.efficiencyprogram@dpie.nsw.gov.au