3.

How are we managing our assets?

Water and wastewater capital works

Over the 2008–09 to 2011–12 price path, we invested in our assets at record levels compared to the last 30 years. This was largely driven by the need to build more water supply infrastructure, in line with the NSW Government’s Metropolitan Water Plan, to balance supply and demand.

Over the 30 years, we invested in major infrastructure such as wastewater treatment plants, deep ocean outfalls and the Northside storage tunnel. Capital expenditure peaked in 2008–09 at almost $1.8 billion when we built the Sydney Desalination Plant and large-scale recycled water schemes. This helped us establish a secure water supply under the Government’s Metropolitan Water Plan and deliver benefits to our customers and the environment.

The nature of our capital program is changing. Our investments in large assets such as treatment plants have resulted in robust performance. This will enable us to shift our focus to water and wastewater systems and servicing of new growth.

For further information on our capital works program in 2011–12, please see Appendix 1.

In the past, we conducted maintenance on assets on a set schedule, but are now focusing on condition-based maintenance. This means we can be more efficient and target our maintenance activities to where problems are developing and fix equipment before it fails. To do this, we upgraded our information systems, so we can make better decisions about where maintenance work is needed.

Condition-based maintenance encourages closer working relationships with those who operate the infrastructure. Operators have better information on the condition of the assets and can work with us to detect and solve problems. This approach is more cost-effective and provides better outcomes for our customers and the environment.

Figure 12 – Long-term capital expenditure 1977–78 to 2009–10

Image of Figure 12 – Long-term capital expenditure 1977–78 to 2009–10

Source: Sydney Water/Water Board annual reports 1977–2010.