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. This includes work such as:

  • naturalising or repairing our stormwater channels
  • building wetlands
  • regenerating bushland in stormwater drainage land.  
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 Sydney’s stormwater system. We maintain and improve over 440 km of large or ‘trunk’ stormwater channels and drains.

This kind of work helps protect people and their property from flooding during storms and heavy rain.

Our riverbank naturalisation projects, such as at Powells Creek and Alexandra Canal, involve removing concrete from the steep channel walls and creating a more gently sloping edge stabilised with native plants and sandstone.

Naturalisation greatly improves habitat for native birds and other animals.

We focus on Water Sensitive Urban Design to improve the ability of our urban environments to capture, treat and re-use stormwater before it has a chance to pollute and degrade our creeks and rivers. Our Waterway Health Improvement Program is an example of water sensitive urban design.
 

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 2019

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 2023

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

Learn more about our Silt and Debris Management Program.

Waterways

  • Location - Annandale, Brighton-le-Sands, Campsie, Canterbury, Concord, Croydon Park, Glenwood, Kellyville and Strathfield
  • Timeframe - These projects are at various project phases and some have been completed.

We're naturalising and revitalising creek and river banks in areas across Sydney including Cooks River and Caddies, Johnstons, Powells and Strangers Creeks.

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

Learn more about our waterways 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, such as through trash racks and sediment traps. We’re also using Water Sensitive Urban Design to 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 parts of Sydney as part of this stormwater management. Wetlands have a significant role in improving the ecology and water quality of streams and rivers as they treat stormwater run-off from streets and industrial areas before it enters local waterways.

 

Northwest Sydney Land and Waterways

  • Location - Beaumont Hills, Glenwood, Kellyville, Rouse Hill and Stanhope Gardens.
  • Timeframe – Ongoing

We’ve developed a strategic stormwater management plan in Northwest Sydney in what is known as the Rouse Hill development area. This includes regenerating bushland in stormwater drainage land and naturalising creeks such as Stranger’s Creek in Kellyville.

Our strategy 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 Northwest Sydney Land and Waterways.

Improving waterway health across Sydney

  • Location - Bankstown, Campsie, Kogarah Bay, Marrickville, Dulwich Hill and Wentworthville
  • Timeframe - Ongoing

We’re improving waterway health and liveability by treating stormwater before it enters our creeks and rivers. We’re working with local councils to reduce the amount of litter and pollutants in waterways by planting naturally vegetated stormwater treatment areas in parks across Sydney. These projects will help:

  • provide better access to the parks
  • offer a wider range of recreational uses
  • improve waterway health and the environment
  • improve better pedestrian and cycle connections.

We’re currently consulting the communities in these areas. You can find updates at sydneywatertalk.com.au or email waterways@sydneywater.com.au 
  
Learn more about Improving waterway health across Sydney.
 

Recycling - Rouse Hill - 7480

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

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 about Stormwater harvesting or review our Stormwater Harvesting and Re-use Agreement.

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.