Managing stormwater

We own and operate over 440 kilometres of stormwater channels and pipes across 30 different local council areas.

We work closely with local councils and other agencies to improve the health of our stormwater system and protect people and properties from flooding.

Native shrubs next to waterway

We improve the health of local wetlands through our stormwater rehabilitation program.

What we're doing

We work with local councils and other agencies to manage the stormwater system in Sydney.

We maintain and improve over 440 km of large or ‘trunk’ stormwater channels and drains. These are mainly in the east and inner west suburbs, and at Rouse Hill. This kind of work helps protect people and their property from flooding during storms and heavy rain. 

Our riverbank naturalisation projects involve removing some, or all, of the steep concrete channels and creating a more gently sloping edge.

The sides are stabilised with native plants, trees and rocks to greatly improve the riverbank habitat for native birds and other animals. This work improves our stormwater system and protects public health and the environment. 

Alexandra Canal bank rehabilitation

  • Location - Alexandria and Tempe
  • Timeframe - 2011 to August 2016

We've rehabilitated the banks to prevent further erosion and ensure nearby parks are not damaged in future.

Learn more about Alexandra Canal bank rehabilitation.

Astrolabe Park stormwater pipe renewal

  • Location - Eastlakes
  • Timeframe - 2012 to 2017

We're replacing two large stormwater pipes under Astrolabe Park.

Learn more about Astrolabe Park stormwater pipe renewal.

Erskineville Flood Safe

  • Location  - Ashmore precinct in Erskineville, on the border of Alexandria
  • Timeframe - 2017 to 2019
We're planning a new stormwater system in Erskineville to reduce flood risk to people and property.

This work is being done in partnership with the City of Sydney Council.

Learn more about Erskineville Flood Safe.

Green Square Stormwater Drain Project

  • Location - Green Square Town Centre
  • Timeframe - construction started in May 2015 and is expected to be completed in mid 2018

We're building a new stormwater drain to reduce the risk of flooding in Green Square Town Centre.

This work is being done in partnership with City of Sydney Council.

Learn more about the Green Square Stormwater Drain Project.

Refresh Woolloomooloo

  • Location - Woolloomooloo, Darlinghurst and Potts Point
  • Timeframe - construction started in August 2017 and is expected to be finished by late 2019

To reduce the number of wet weather wastewater overflows to Woolloomooloo Bay and help improve the environment, we're separating the currently combined wastewater and stormwater systems.

Learn more about Refresh Woolloomooloo.

Silt and debris management

  • Location - Various suburbs across Sydney
  • Timeframe - 2010 to mid 2018

We're removing silt, sand and sediment from our wastewater and stormwater pipes.

Learn more about our Silt and Debris Management Program.

Stormwater naturalisation

  • Location - Croydon Park, Campsie, Canterbury, Strathfield and Kellyville
  • Timeframe - These projects are underway and some have been completed.

We're naturalising creek and river banks in areas across Sydney including along the Cooks River and Powells and Strangers Creeks.

This work involves removing old concrete and damaged banks and replacing them with natural looking banks.

Learn more about our stormwater naturalisation projects.

Concrete tunnel with curved brick roof

We continually maintain our historic stormwater channels under Sydney's streets. 

 

As rainwater runs from roofs, roads and parks, it can pick up and carry pollution into stormwater drains. Types of pollution include:

  • litter
  • sand
  • dirt
  • grease
  • oil
  • metals.

Our infrastructure improves the quality of stormwater entering local waterways. Trash racks and sediment traps reduce stress on urban streams and rivers by capturing some of the pollutants and nutrients from stormwater flows.

We also manage and build wetlands in some areas of Sydney.

Wetlands have a significant role in improving the ecology and water quality of streams and rivers. They treat stormwater run-off from streets and industrial areas before it enters local waterways.

Our rehabilitation program helps protect the local environment and improve the health of our waterways.

Rouse Hill Land and Waterways Program

  • Location - Rouse Hill, Glenwood, Stanhope Gardens, Kellyville and Beaumont Hills
  • Timeframe – Ongoing
We’ve developed a strategic stormwater management plan in the Rouse Hill catchment area. This includes regenerating bushland in stormwater drainage land in Rouse Hill, Glenwood, Stanhope Gardens, Kellyville and Beaumont Hills.

This program will help reduce flood risk to properties and restore local creeks and waterways. It will also improve water quality entering the Hawkesbury-Nepean River.

Learn more about our:

Botany, Arncliffe and Chullora wetlands

  • Location - Botany, Arncliffe and Chullora
    Grassy bank and low rock wall next to dam of water

    This wet basin holds stormwater collected in the Rouse Hill area.

  • Timeframe - 2012 to 2017

We're developing a strategic plan of management for Botany, Arncliffe and Chullora wetlands. The plan will explain how:

  • the wetlands will be used and maintained over the next five years
  • we intend to consult with the community about the project. 

Learn more about Botany, Arncliffe and Chullora Wetlands management plan.

Sportsfield being irrigated in front of grandstand

North Sydney Council uses stormwater to irrigate sportsfields.

We work with councils and other agencies to investigate opportunities to collect and re-use stormwater.

There are over 70 projects across the Sydney region that collect and re-use stormwater. These projects include:

  • watering parks
  • watering gardens
  • irrigating sportsfields and golf courses
  • flushing public toilets.


The number of stormwater harvesting projects is constantly growing. For an up to date list, visit waterforlife.nsw.gov.au.

Learn more

Have your say about our projects

Female staff member talking to a man next to a metal fence

Your feedback is important to us.
Visit Sydney Water Talk to learn more about our projects and provide feedback.