Indicator: Total water use
The amount of drinking water we can draw from Sydney’s catchment each year is about 610,000 million litres excluding water from the desalination plant.
Sydney used about 481,930 million litres in 2011–12, compared to 496,695 million litres in 2010–11. This year’s amount was about the same as in 2007–08, when we had level 3 drought restrictions and an extensive water efficiency program.
Although weather conditions in 2007–08 and 2011–12 were wetter than average, Sydney’s population has increased by about seven per cent over that time. The continued low level water use reflects the community’s efforts to keep the water saving behaviours they started during the restrictions. It also reflects a decrease in the use of drinking water by some non-residential customers.
By 30 June 2011, we reduced the average amount of water each person uses from our Operating Licence target of 329 litres a day to 304 litres a day. We are now focusing on maintaining water use at less than 329 litres a day.
In 2011–12, Sydney’s water use was 297 litres a person a day. This includes water used by residential customers, businesses and industry, and for irrigation.
Figure 10 – Total water drawn 2002–12
How are we improving our water and wastewater services?
Managing breaks and overflows
During the year, we made significant investment in our wastewater services. This will ensure that these services are reliable, sustain future growth and reduce wet weather overflows.
All of these projects are part of our $560 million SewerFix program. This is a four-year program to improve the wastewater system and protect public health and the environment along the 24,000 km wastewater pipe network.
Some of the bigger projects that were underway in 2011–12 included:
the $65 million Northern Beaches Storage Project in Brookvale to improve water quality in Manly and Curl Curl Lagoons and beaches from Curl Curl to Queenscliff
$29 million at the Quakers Hill Wastewater Treatment Plant
$24 million in the Illawarra to improve wet weather wastewater overflows and protect customers’ homes from wastewater surcharges
$11.2 million to renew a section of the Southern and Western Suburbs Ocean Outfall System within Sydney Airport.
We also completed a $12.8 million project to reline 7.4 km of large wastewater pipes throughout Sydney to keep them functioning in good condition into the future.