Sydney uses the same amount of water now as it did in the early 1970s – despite an increase in population of over 1.3 million people.
The Metropolitan Water Plan is the NSW Government’s plan to secure water supplies and tackle the challenges of climate change and population growth.
Under the plan, Sydney Water is responsible for a wide range of initiatives, including wastewater recycling, desalination, demand management and leak reduction.
Sydney Water is participating in a review of the plan, undertaken by the NSW Office of Water. A new plan will be finalised in early 2010–11. This will ensure that there is enough water to at least 2025, and help protect river health through environmental releases.
Community engagement is an essential part of the plan. A range of programs are being run to support householders, schools, businesses and local government and encourage them to play their part.
In June 2009, Sydney Water introduced Water Wise Rules to replace drought restrictions that had been in place since late 2003. Water Wise Rules are common sense, everyday actions to reduce outdoor water use even when dam levels are relatively high.
Total volume of drinking water saved per year by demand management programs
In March 2010, council areas in the inner west, the Illawarra and the Blue Mountains dominated the list of top 10 lowest annual water users. Kiama has topped the list of residents using the least water for the past six years.