Sydney Water Annual Report 2009
At a glance: Operations

In this section:


Operations snapshot

4.3 million

Sydney Water supplies water, wastewater, recycled water and some stormwater services to over 4.3 million people in Sydney, the Illawarra and the Blue Mountains.

1.34 billion
litres a day

Water services
Every day, Sydney Water supplies over 1.3 billion litres of water to over 1.7 million homes and businesses. Households use about 70% of the water supplied; businesses use about 30%.

Most of the water is treated at privately owned water filtration plants, operated under contract to Sydney Water.

Treated water is distributed to customers via a network of about 21,000 km of water pipes, 263 reservoirs and 162 pumping stations.

Water distribution is operated by centralised computer control systems.

From this summer, water from the desalination plant will reach up to 1.5 million people as part or all of their water supply.

70 million
litres a day

Recycled water
Sydney Water recycles about 70 million litres of wastewater a day. There are a number of water recycling schemes in place that reduce demand on water supplies and reduce discharges of wastewater. The volume of recycled water is increasing significantly. Recycled water is treated to standards that reflect the use that will be made of it.

1.31 billion
litres a day

Wastewater services
Sydney Water collects and treats over 1.3 billion litres of wastewater a day. The sewerage network includes about 24,000 km of sewer pipes and 674 sewage pumping stations. There are 24 separate sewerage systems licensed by the Department of Environment, Climate Change and Water.

Sydney Water transports wastewater to 29 sewage treatment plants. After treatment, it is reused or discharged to rivers or the ocean under licence conditions related to the receiving environment. Inland plants discharging to the rivers treat waste to high levels. Three of the treatment plants are storm sewage treatment plants (Fairfield, Bellambi and Port Kembla) that are used only during major storms.

The biosolids produced and captured are used in agriculture, composting or land rehabilitation.

443 km
of channels

Stormwater services
Most stormwater channels and drains are the direct responsibility of local councils. Sydney Water manages 443 km of stormwater channels and conduits mainly in south and south-west Sydney, as well as flood-prone areas and trunk drainage at Rouse Hill.

By length, this is less than five per cent of the total metropolitan stormwater network and discharges about 25% of runoff.