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Audit Office’s Damning Review into Sydney Water’s Poor Conservation Record Needs Urgent Inquiry

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Cate Faehrmann
NSW Greens MP
23 June 2020

A damning Audit Office’s report released today into Sydney Water’s performance in water conservation requires urgent intervention by the NSW Premier including an inquiry into the performance of Sydney Water and its systemic failures to ensure a sustainable water supply for Sydney, says Cate Faehrmann, Greens MP and spokesperson on water.

The report Water Conservation in Greater Sydney found that:

  • The department and Sydney Water have not effectively investigated, implemented or supported water conservation initiatives in Greater Sydney;
  • The agencies have not met key requirements of the current Metropolitan Water Plan and Sydney Water has not met all its operating licence requirements for water conservation 
  • There has been little policy or regulatory reform, little focus on identifying new options and investments, and limited planning and implementation of water conservation initiatives’
  • As a result of the above, Greater Sydney's water supply may be less resilient to population growth and climate variability, including drought.

“This Auditor-General’s report is absolutely frightening because it shows that Sydney Water seems to be deliberately avoiding its responsibilities when it comes to securing a sustainable water supply for Sydney by ensuring users conserve water,” said Cate Faehrmann.

“Alarm bells should have gone off in the Premier’s office when this report landed on her desk because it shows that her Water Minister, Melinda Pavey, has no control over Sydney Water and its shocking performance.

“We’ve just had the worst drought on record with Sydney’s dam levels plummeting to a low of 41.8%, yet the body responsible for ensuring our water security has been asleep at the wheel, or worse driving us off the cliff.

“No wonder Sydneysiders use 205 litres per person per day of water while Melbournians use only 161. This report reveals that Sydney Water couldn’t give a damn about encouraging people to actually reduce the amount of water they use. 

“The fact that the State Government takes a dividend from Sydney Water’s profits means that conserving water has become their last priority instead of the first, so much so that Sydney Water does not even have a strategy for water conservation. It’s a disgrace and must be fixed.

“In this era of climate change it’s vital that the community has faith in Sydney Water’s ability to sustainably manage our water supply. That’s why the Government must urgently respond to this report by investigating the management and culture of Sydney Water, including its continued non-compliance, to assure everyone it’s up to the job,” said Ms Faehrmann. 



Contact: Jacob Miller - 0428 837 292 

profile image
Cate Faehrmann
NSW Greens MP
23 June 2020
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