Stormwater quality targets

How to hit your target

If you want to connect to or develop a property that connects to one of our stormwater assets or natural waterways, you must meet our stormwater quality targets. Targets ensure we protect the health of our waterways by minimising the environmental impacts of urban stormwater run-off.

Who manages stormwater quality targets

Stormwater quality improvements aren't new. They were already required for multi-dwelling developments. Until relatively recently, these requirements were set and managed by councils. However, each council had a different set of conditions across our area of operations. We wanted to make the connection process as simple as possible. So that you can easily see our standards for the quality of stormwater entering our system, our requirements are now clearer and we have a Stormwater quality targets policy.

When stormwater quality targets apply

The targets apply to certain types of development that connect to a Sydney Water stormwater asset or natural waterway. These include (but aren't exclusive to): 

  • residential developments that are part of a greater subdivision resulting in more than 2 single attached or semi-detached dwellings, for example, freestanding houses, duplexes, terraced houses
  • residential development for multi-dwellings or units that are under strata management, for example, townhouses, villas, apartments
  • developments that are commercial, industrial or are a special use building or structure, for example, a community, education or recreational building
  • developments or infrastructure that have state significance.

You may be exempt from meeting these targets if:

  • the original total site area of your development is less than 250 m2
  • you're refurbishing an existing building and maintaining the existing drainage system.

What the minimum targets are

Pollutant Average annual pollutant load reduction objective (%)*

Gross pollutants (>5 mm)


Total suspended solids


Total phosphorous


Total nitrogen


* Pollutant removal design criteria adopted by Western Sydney Growth Centres – Stormwater Guidance for Precinct Planning (prepared by DEC Nov 2006).

How to use the stormwater quality target tool

You can use the free web-based Small Scale Stormwater Quality Model (S3QM) tool to see if your proposal meets the standards. Here's how:

  1. Open the S3QM.
  2. Set up a user account.
  3. Enter the details of your development and your proposed stormwater quality improvement device or treatment train.
  4. Receive a Deemed to Comply certificate if your proposal meets the criteria.

Your project may still need an eWater MUSIC model. Download our Stormwater quality targets policy to find out more.