A NSW Government website

Plans and

NSW Groundwater Strategy

In a first for NSW, a long-term strategy has been developed to better protect and share the state’s vital groundwater resources.

The NSW Groundwater Strategy delivers on a key priority of the NSW Water Strategy by ensuring an enhanced, state-wide focus on sustainable groundwater management for the next 20 years.

Our groundwater resources are becoming increasingly vulnerable due to changing climate conditions, population growth and increased land use. A long-term direction – harnessing the latest science available – is needed to make sure the way we manage groundwater continues to evolve to tackle the critical challenges it faces now and in the future.

Strategy at a glance

Groundwater supports cultural and social values, dependent ecosystems and resilient towns and industries

Our groundwater resources and dependent ecosystems are protected to support current and future uses         Through sustainable groundwater use, water dependent aspirations of Aboriginal people are supported, water resilience for urban populations is improved and development opportunities are realised  Better groundwater management and investment decisions are made based on improved information and knowledge
Refresh, consolidate and expand our groundwater policy frameworkSupport Aboriginal people's rights, values and uses of groundwater Develop the groundwater components of a water knowledge plan
Improve protection of groundwater dependent ecosystems and baseflows to streamsSupport towns and cities that use groundwater to improve their urban water planning Better share and integrate groundwater information
Review and update approaches to sustainable groundwater extractionSupport resilient groundwater dependent industries in NSW Improve our understanding of groundwater resources
Protect groundwater quality within natural limits  Expand and target our groundwater data collection
Better integrate groundwater management with other land and water management processes  

About the strategy

NSW has a robust, world-leading approach to managing our groundwater resources. While this approach has served us well, the NSW Groundwater Strategy builds on and improves the way groundwater resources are managed and used in NSW for the next 20 years.

The strategy has been developed via an evidence-based, whole-of-government process with the technical input of an external advisory panel of world-class experts.

It identifies the main challenges confronting the state’s groundwater resources and the modern-day issues driving the need for our groundwater management approach to evolve and deliver long-term groundwater sustainability for NSW.

12 strategic priorities actions underpin the department’s response to these challenges and issues – providing a blueprint for devising and delivering initiatives that will protect and future-proof our groundwater resources.

The first implementation plan will be published online in early 2023.

Two companion guides provide relevant background information on our groundwater resources and how we manage them:

Facts about groundwater in NSW

How we developed the strategy

Through the Regional Water Strategies program, we worked with communities across the state over a three-year period to understand groundwater challenges and opportunities. We then engaged publicly online on a draft NSW Groundwater Strategy.

Feedback received on the draft strategy from this engagement was used to refine the strategy and develop the first implementation plan.

What we heard

529 stakeholders participated in the engagement program and we received 59 formal submissions.


We are sharing collected community and stakeholder submissions for the draft strategy.

Submissions - Consultation

Watch the recorded webinar

Thursday, 28 July 2022
12:30 pm – 2:00 pm

How does the strategy tackle climate change?

A key purpose of the NSW Groundwater Strategy is to ensure we have the right information to inform the right decision at the right time.

The NSW Government is using our new climate data in collaboration with the CSIRO to model the effects that climate conditions may have on groundwater resources.

This work will be available online in early 2023.

Groundwater and climate change

Next steps

Not all actions in the strategy will be commenced at once, and funding will be a consideration in planning when and how the actions will be implemented. The NSW Groundwater Strategy will be a key tool in securing funding as future opportunities arise.

The first implementation plan will be published online in early 2023. It will show what we will achieve by when. It will also identify key partners to effectively deliver the actions.

We will undertake a formal review of the strategy at least every 5 years or in response to significant changing conditions and government priorities.

Contact us

If you have any questions about the NSW Groundwater, please email us on nsw.groundwaterstrategy@dpie.nsw.gov.au