The New South Wales Government has launched the NSW Water Strategy, a platform for the long-term management of water that will guide planning, policy and water infrastructure investments.
The Strategy will function as a 20-year blueprint to deliver resilient and sustainable water resources to communities across the state.
The release of the Strategy coincides with the launch of the Water Project Map, a new tool for people to access information about all water infrastructure projects across New South Wales.
New South Wales Minister for Water, Property and Housing, Melinda Pavey, said, “This strategy, underpinned by cutting-edge climate modelling, will help our state work towards becoming a world leader in water innovation and efficiency.
“In the next 12 months we’ll refocus our efforts on water conservation and leakage reduction in our cities, towns and regional centers, and deliver a state-wide water efficiency framework.
“We’ll also look for opportunities to invest in research and development, and new technologies, including recycled water opportunities for industrial and agricultural uses.”
The New South Wales Government will investigate and invest in supply options including stormwater harvesting and water reuse, and look at developing a consistent approach to water restrictions.
“We’re exploring a range of options, including boosting water recycling across communities for watering crops and gardens, fighting fires, flushing toilets and reducing pollution in our waterways,” Ms Pavey said.
“Already, about 70 per cent of local water utilities recycle water. Treated stormwater is being used to provide up to 25 per cent of Orange’s supply.”
These initiatives and projects are key opportunities laid out in the NSW Water Strategy, as the New South Wales Government prepares for future challenges – including more demand for water and a more variable climate – and sets the strategic direction for the state’s water sector over the long term.
“People living in NSW make up more than a third of Australia’s population, and over the next 20 years, our state will grow by 2.8 million. We need the right infrastructure in place to enable this growth, knowing the challenges we face with a changing climate,” Ms Pavey said.
“The recent drought was one of the worst and most extreme on record, and it hit our communities hard. Our water supplies were stretched to their limits.
“But the drought also brought about creative and innovative ideas about infrastructure investment, with many communities having to source different means of increasing their supply.
“While many of our dams are now full or starting to spill, we know drought will come again, so now is the time to make decisions to ensure our communities, industries and environment thrive, now and into the future.”
The NSW Water Strategy sets the overarching vision for 12 regional and two metropolitan water strategies also being developed, tailored to the individual needs of each region in the state.
In addition, the new online map shows where the record investment for critical water infrastructure projects are, details of the projects and how they are helping communities.