Sydney Desalination Plant is part of the New South Wales Government’s plan to ensure a secure and affordable water supply system for Greater Sydney. Desalination is one of the ways we can meet water demand when we’re faced with a prolonged drought as it does not rely on rainfall.

Most states in Australia have at least one large desalination plant.

Sydney Desalination Plant is currently operating
Extreme weather events have led to continued operation of the desalination plant. The desalination plant will be kept in standby operation to reduce the pressure on our treatment plants and network and enable us respond to future extreme events. This will ensure we continue to deliver high-quality drinking water for Greater Sydney. While it is operating, we’re able to adjust the capacity based on the needs of our system.

Having the plant running, for the 12 months up to March 2021, cost the average household $8.67 a year. This is reflected in the 2021-22 water service charges.

It’s likely that the desalination plant will continue to run for the next 6 months (to December 2021). We estimate that keeping the plant running will cost the average household about $10 a year more in total compared to turning the plant off completely.

We’ll continue to monitor the situation and keep you informed of any changes.

Does your property receive desalinated water?



Desalination distribution area

Key facts about desalinated water from Sydney Desalination Plant


If you live or work in an area that can be supplied by desalinated water, you may receive water from dams, the desalination plant or a combination of both.

Water supply

The plant produces drinking water that meets the Australian Drinking Water Guidelines. You can find out about the quality of the water we supply to your property in our Daily drinking water quality report.

Drinking water

As outlined in the Metropolitan Water Plan, Sydney Desalination Plant is turned on when Sydney's total dam storages fall below 60%. At full capacity, the plant can provide up to 15% of Sydney’s total water use – supplying about 1.5 million people with an average of 250 million litres a day.

Water composition

The desalination plant takes seawater from about 300 metres offshore and 25 metres below the surface and uses reverse osmosis to turn it into drinking water.

Desalination Plant

Sydney Desalination Plant at Kurnell is privately-owned and operated.