Community

If you live near one of our tour sites, you may be eligible to go on a tour. We work with local councils and community groups to showcase how water is managed in Sydney.

Tour dates for each site are limited and vary throughout the year.

Tour sites

We'll give a brief presentation and then take you on an informative walking tour around the site. You'll have plenty of opportunities to ask questions.

Tour information

Sites visitied

We offer tours at a number of sites.

Drinking water treatment sites:

  • Orchard Hills Water Filtration Plant

Wastewater treatment sites:

  • Cronulla Wastewater Treatment Plant
  • North Head Wastewater Treatment Plant

Wastewater treatment and recycled water sites:

  • Rouse Hill Water Recycling Plant
  • St Marys Water Recycling Education Centre
  • Wollongong Water Recycling Plant

Dual sites (you’ll visit both a drinking water treatment plant and a water recycling plant)

  • Orchard Hills Water Filtration Plant and St Marys Water Recycling Education Centre
Length of the tour

Two hours for a single site tour.

3.5 hours for the dual site tour, excluding travel time between the two sites (allow half an hour).

Content delivered You will:
  • see how our water and wastewater treatment and water recycling technologies work
  • understand our management and licencing systems
  • see innovations in water and wastewater treatment technology
  • experience our operations with industry professionals.
Request an excursion You can request an excursion online.
For more information, email us.

The Tank Stream served as colonial Sydney's first and main source of fresh water for almost 40 years. It's also a place of cultural significance to the Gadigal, the traditional owners of the Sydney Cove area.

Our Tank Stream tours offer a rare link with this nationally important location. These special tours take visitors under the city along a 60-metre length of the stream and tunnel dating between 1789 and 1965.

Public Tank Stream tours are offered twice a year in cooperation with Sydney Living Museums (SLM). They're usually held around April and October or November. Tickets are only available by ballot by visiting the SLM website.

Please visit the Sydney Living Museum website to find the next ballot dates for public Tank Stream Tour tickets.

Terms and conditions

  • Tours may be cancelled on the day if it's raining or if toxic gas levels become dangerous.
  • The tour is not suitable for people with serious health issues, limited mobility or who are uncomfortable in confined spaces. You must be able to climb ladders.
  • You must wear the provided hard hat, gumboots and safety harness.
  • You must wear a long sleeved shirt and long pants.
  • After the safety induction and before the tour, you'll be required to sign an agreement stating you understand the risks involved and are fit and capable of performing all the required activities.
  • Children aged 12 and under are not permitted to enter the Tank Stream tunnel.

The West Ryde Boiler House contained the engine room for the West Ryde Water Pumping Station.

It began operating in 1921 to supply water to the homes of. northern Sydney suburbs. This 'industrial cathedral’ is a monument to Australia's large-scale engineering expertise. It burned hundreds of tonnes of coal delivered daily by rail. This generated steam to drive the pumps that moved water to homes and industry.

Our West Ryde Boiler House tours offer a rare opportunity to understand the important role the site served in the history of water supply in Sydney.

Visitors will be taken:

  • through the boiler house building
  • along the viaduct
  • into the coal bunkers at roof level.


Visitors will also learn about our water quality laboratories located next to the Boiler House.

Follow us on Twitter and Facebook for tour date alerts.

Terms and conditions

  • We may cancel tours on the day due to severe weather conditions.
  • You must be able to climb stairs. The tour is not suitable for people with serious health issues or limited mobility.
  • You must wear flat, enclosed shoes.

There are many historic sites that tell the fascinating story of Sydney from an early colony through to a thriving, global city.

Botany Wetlands

Botany Wetlands is the largest coastal fresh water wetland system in the Sydney region.

The wetlands and interconnected ponds cover about 58 hectares. They stretch over a four kilometre corridor in the eastern suburbs of Sydney from Gardeners Road, Daceyville to Foreshore Drive.

The wetlands are about six kilometres south of the CBD. Take a self-guided tour of the wetlands by using the surrounding public open space.

Read more in our Botany Wetlands fact sheet.

Paddington Reservoir

Paddington Reservoir was a water reservoir that received water from Botany Swamps Pumping Station. It supplied parts of Sydney between 1866 and 1899.

The reservoir was like a big, underground tank. Its arched brick roof was held up with timber columns. In 1899, it stopped being used because a new, higher reservoir was built in Centennial Park. The reservoir became a ruin and was used for storage and as a petrol station.

In 2006, the structure was restored and it was turned into a sunken garden. You can visit Paddington Reservoir Gardens on Oxford St, Paddington.

Centennial Parklands

Between 1824 and 1837, convicts dug a sandstone tunnel (or bore) to carry water from Lachlan Swamps (now Centennial Park) to Hyde Park. This was one of Sydney’s first large engineering projects.

The tunnel was designed by and named after John Busby. Convicts dug the 3.6 kilometre tunnel by hand. It was 1.2 to 1.8 metres wide and up to three metres high. The bore stopped being used in 1858 as pollution slowly seeped into the bore. Busby’s Bore still runs underground.

You can still see some of the wells that go down to the bore at Centennial Parklands.

Warragamba Dam

Warragamba Dam is the largest dam in Australia.

It's located about 65 kilometres west of Sydney in a narrow gorge on the Warragamba River. It supplies water to over four million people in greater Sydney and holds up to four times more water than Sydney Harbour - about 2,031 billion litres of water when full.

The dam was built by the government because of Sydney's growing population and a severe drought from 1934-42. It was finished in 1960.

By building the dam, 75 km2 of the Burragorang Valley was flooded. This created a lake 52 kilometres long with an average depth of 105 metres. For more information about seeing the dam, visit WaterNSW.

Find out more about our history at Sydney Water Talk.