How are we responding to Sydney’s growth?

Catering for a growing city

Sydney is growing rapidly. The NSW Department of Planning and Infrastructure (DoPI) expects about 570,000 new homes will be built by 2031. By then, Sydney’s overall population is set to grow by 1.3 million.

As Sydney expands and urban centres become more densely populated, we face a number of challenges including greater demand for our services. We also need to deliver timely infrastructure solutions to accommodate new developments on Sydney’s fringes, without harming the environment.

Our commitment to servicing growth links directly with DoPI’s plans for urban development. Over the past financial year, we invested in a number of projects in the South West Growth Centre (SWGC) and the North West Growth Centre (NWGC). These included drinking water infrastructure, wastewater services and recycled water supply (see Appendix 1).

Over the next financial year, we will spend more than $455 million on renewing Sydney Water’s infrastructure and expanding into the SWGC and NWGC.

In addition, we will receive $40 million from the NSW Government’s Housing Acceleration Fund (HAF) to build infrastructure for about 8,000 properties by 2015 in the NWGC and the Illawarra.

We are building strong relationships with large developers and meet with them quarterly to discuss issues and opportunities to work together. We also engage with local councils, government and other agencies.

We need to be innovative in how we service new growth areas and ensure infrastructure investment continues to drive value for all customers.

New model for wastewater planning

As the South West and North West sectors grow, the Hawkesbury-Nepean River system will be affected by higher treated wastewater flows as well as more stormwater from large urban areas.

How waterways will cope under increased pressure from new housing depends heavily on wastewater management options – and getting it right is more important than ever. To better inform wastewater planning we are developing the Hawkesbury-Nepean River system model.

The model will allow us to consider the potential impact of changes to wastewater flow on the river system in the context of broader urban development. We’ll be using the results to make informed investment decisions.

We’ll also use the results in future talks with the Environment Protection Authority (EPA) about our Environment Protection Licences (EPLs).

It is important that we meet the needs of servicing growth and environmental protection, while doing this at an affordable price for the community.

‘The new Hawkesbury-Nepean model will support complex infrastructure investment decisions of up to $2 billion for servicing growth in the Hawkesbury-Nepean catchment over the next 30–40 years,’ said Stephen Blockwell, Program Manager Waterways & Environmental Science.

By developing the Hawkesbury-Nepean model, we now have the resources to plan for future growth in line with the NSW Government’s Metropolitan Water Plan.

Image of a Sydney Water staff member using a impact modelling tool

Program Manager Stephen Blockwell says the Hawkesbury-Nepean model will support investment decisions for servicing growth.