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After three years of consultations, the New South Wales Government and Hunter Water have released a draft Lower Hunter Water Security Plan.

The draft plan aims to ensure the growing Lower Hunter region has the water security it needs for a prosperous future.

New South Wales’ Minister for Water, Property and Housing, Melinda Pavey, said the draft Lower Hunter Water Security Plan is a foundation for the economic development of Greater Newcastle and the Hunter while supporting the liveability of the community, setting out a pathway until 2060.

“Water is fundamental to the region’s growth, prosperity and quality of life. I’m proud of the comprehensive work involving a whole-of-government approach to ensure we have a sustainable and resilient water supply for the Lower Hunter, now and for future generations,” said Ms Pavey.

“Hunter Water has developed a draft plan that will support the growth of the region and ensure it can respond to system shocks, including drought and a changing climate.”

 Hunter Water Managing Director, Darren Cleary, said the recent drought has highlighted the vulnerability of the water supply system.

“The recent drought rewrote the rules for many communities around New South Wales. New insights gained during the drought have confirmed that our region is more vulnerable to drought than we previously thought,” Mr Cleary said. 

“The Hunter’s storages can go from typical operating levels to critical in less than three years. If drought were to continue beyond this, our region could run out of water.

“Our community has told us they expect a reliable water supply that can withstand drought, reaffirming our view that it is unacceptable for a region the size of the Lower Hunter to face the risk of running out of water. 

“A key objective of our future planning is to make sure we can supply enough water to meet the demand from households, businesses and industrial customers, while underpinning regional prosperity and nurturing the unique Lower Hunter environment.” 

The draft Lower Hunter Water Security Plan is now on public exhibition for a six-week period, concluding on Sunday 19 September 2021. 

Detailed information on the Hunter Water engagement website includes the draft plan, fact sheets about the different actions and other technical information.

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