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.

Sydney Desalination Plant is currently operating

Since 27 March 2020, the desalination plant has been operating at reduced capacity. This will continue for at least 12 months.

Keeping the plant running at reduced capacity will help:
  • ensure Greater Sydney has a flexible water supply
  • maintain drinking water quality as there's an ongoing risk due to bushfire ash and sediment that washed into the water storages during heavy rain in February and July 2020.

We expect that keeping the plant running for a year will cost the average household up to $10 more in total compared to turning the plant off completely.

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 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.