As outlined in the Metropolitan Water Plan, Sydney Desalination Plant was turned on when Sydney's total dam storages fell below 60%.

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.

The Sydney Desalination Plant is currently operating

From 27 March 2020, the plant has been operating at reduced capacity, but it will remain operational for at least six months. We expect this will cost the average household up to $5 more in total than turning the plant off completely. Keeping the plant running at reduced capacity will help:
  • ensure Greater Sydney has a flexible water supply
  • maintain drinking water quality, as there is an ongoing risk due to bushfire ash and sediment washed into the water storages in February.

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

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 m offshore and 25 m 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. Find out more