Sydney Water Desalination Project

sea salt

Securing Sydney’s water supply

With the uncertainty of climate change and a projected increase in Sydney’s population, desalination is one of many activities underway to help secure Sydney’s water supply for the future.

Powered by 100 per cent green energy, desalination is part of the NSW Government’s Metropolitan Water Plan.

The plan sets out how the NSW Government intends to secure the water supply for Sydney, Illawarra and the Blue Mountains, in both the short and long terms.

This means having enough water available to:

  • meet the needs of a growing city
  • protect river health through environmental flows
  • withstand current and future droughts and the impacts of climate change.

Under the plan, Sydney Water is responsible for:

  • increasing the amount of wastewater recycled to 70 billion litres a year by 2015
  • delivering water efficiency programs, such as WaterFix and the Every Drop Counts Business Program
  • reducing leaks and breaks in its own water system
  • the construction of a desalination plant to increase water supply.

Sydney’s Desalination Project

In November 2006, the Minister for Planning gave concept approval for the desalination project and project approval for the desalination plant at Kurnell and the seawater intake and outlet structures.

The plant will use reverse osmosis technology to remove salts and other impurities from seawater to produce drinking water.

Fact sheet: Seawater to drinking water (PDF – 641KB)

Fact sheet: Protecting the environment (PDF – 434KB)

Fact sheet: Renewable Energy (PDF – 264KB)

Water from the desalination plant at Kurnell will be pumped into Sydney’s water distribution system through a pipeline from Kurnell, across Botany Bay to Kyeemagh. Approval for the pipeline was given in October 2007. The proposed pipeline route from Kyeemagh connects to the main City Water Tunnel at Erskineville. From there the water will be distributed to up to 1.5 million people south of Sydney Harbour, to supplement their water supply.

However, everyone will benefit as water supplied from the desalination plant will increase the total volume of water available to all customers across the whole Sydney Water area including the Blue Mountains, the Illawarra and Sydney.

Fact Sheet: Kurnell Pipeline (PDF – 376KB)

Fact Sheet: Botany Bay pipeline (PDF – 320KB)

Fact Sheet: Kyeemagh to Erskineville (PDF – 603KB)

The land portion of the pipeline will be laid using a number of methods, including open trench and trenchless construction. Construction in residential areas will be mostly trenchless, conditions permitting.

Fact sheet: The water delivery pipeline (PDF – 467KB)

For more information, contact:



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