Greater Sydney’s water security and supply will be challenged by climate variability and change, population growth and ageing assets. There are also growing community expectations that governments will improve waterway health and use more water for city greening and cooling.
By 2040, Greater Sydney’s population is forecast to grow by 1.9 million to 7.1 million people. This will grow to 8.3 million by 2056, with an estimated increase in annual water demand of 50% to 65%, or about 280 gigalitres (GL) to 360 GL per year.
The 2019 Australian Infrastructure Audit found that the urban water sector faces considerable risks, including the impacts of climate change, population growth, ageing assets, and changing needs and expectations from users.
Climate variability and change could increase the frequency, severity and longevity of drought. This could result in more frequent and severe water restrictions across Greater Sydney. This imposes costs on households, business, the community and the water service provider.
The Infrastructure Priority List separately includes a High Priority Initiative for Town and city water security, which recognises these challenges across Australia.
Potential options to address the initiative include better-use and new infrastructure investments, as well as non‑infrastructure responses such as demand management to efficiently meet this need.
The initiative aims to deliver long‑term water security, water quality, amenity, recreation and public health outcomes for Greater Sydney.
Proponent to identify initiatives and develop options (Stage 2 of Infrastructure Australia’s Assessment Framework).