Sydney, ANZAC and Glebe Island Bridges, Sydney - photo Marghanita

Ecologically Sustainable Sydney


Urban puddles a wasted resource.

Potential sites for more sensitive Urban Water Design. Urban Puddles after Storm on 9 November 2012

flooding on urban streets flooding on urban streets flooding on urban streets flooding on urban streets

Water in Sydney & NSW

Urban Sensitive Water Design to reduce Flooding and Storm Water Runnoff

Wikipedia provides a comprehensive overview of Water-sensitive urban design, including Principles, Regulation and examples of Projects in Australia...more

Inundation of Sydney Harbour and other Bays with Fresh Water


The other side of storm water and runoff is that because a lot of the land in Sydney is covered by impervious surfaces such as roads and buildings the level of runoff is increased and less water is absorbed into the ground. The move to rainwater tanks stores some of this water but if it is used to water gardens or flush toilets, it is likely to evaporate and flow into the sewerage system. The alternative is soak pits which replenish the aquifer. This water is available to plants and eliminates the need for watering.

Urban Puddle corner of Collins and Trafalgar Streets Annandale, June 2007

Flooding on 14 June 2007

Stormwater Control by Biodiversity in Glebe and Chippendale (November 2012)

Photographs courtesy of Ted Floyd

Urban SwaleUrban Swale

Water Quality of Runoff into Sydney Harbour

When it rains it pours in Sydney. The NSW Government's Urban Stormwater Program, administered by the Stormwater Trust, was designed as a short- to medium-term program to provide seed funding to address stormwater quality hot spots and to give the stormwater industry and stormwater managers an opportunity to develop new ways of addressing the serious problem of poor stormwater quality. -

Two of the projects are filter water which flows into the creeks that bound Annandale. Federal Park Tidally-Influenced Salt Marsh Wetland in Annandale, which filters the water which flows into Johnston's Creek and White's Creek Wetland both filter water that runs into Rozelle Bay.

Sydney Tank Stream

The spot chosen for the settlement was at the head of the cove, near the run of fresh water which stole silently along through a very thick wood the stillness of which had then, for the first time since the Creation, been interrupted by the rude sound of the labourer’s axe. (David Collins, Account of the English Colony of New South Wales, 1802) - Source City of Sydney.


There are ten coastal treatment plants in Sydney. The three largest are located at North Head, Bondi and Malabar and treat most of Sydney's sewage, discharging via deep ocean outfalls. More at: Coastal Waste Water Treatment Plants

Waste water is now being used to keep parklands and golf courses green - Sewer Mining

Drinking Water

  1. Quality of Tap Water in Sydney - see Quarterly Drinking Water Quality Report
  2. NSW Health Policy Directives, Guidelines and Information bulletins
    Rainwater Tanks Where a Public Water Supply is Available - Use of
  3. BASIX requires all new homes in NSW to use up to 40% less potable water and produce up to 40% fewer greenhouse gas emissions than the average home. From 1 October 2006, BASIX will also apply to major alterations and additions to existing homes.
  4. The Water target ranges from 40% to 0% across NSW, taking into account the significant variances in the climate...* 90% of new residential development will be covered by the 40% water target.
  5. Gardening with recycled light grey water and rainfall
  6. Install a dual flush toilet cistern outlet valve to save water

Waragamba Dam

The Waragamba Dam collects water from catchment area of the Wollondilly and Coxs River systems, to form Lake Burragorang. This is the largest urban water supply in Australia and contains four times the volume of water of Sydney Harbour.

The Dam was constructed between 1948 and 1960. More than 2,300,000 tonnes of sandstone was removed from the site. 305,000 tonnes of cement and 2,500,000 tonnes of sand and gravel were mixed into concrete on the site. -

BOM: Monthly Climate Summary


Further Reading © Ramin Communications 2007. Previously modified 29 November 2013. Last modified 2 Feb 2017