The government’s announcement that the desalination plant expansion at Kurnell is delayed should be used as an opportunity to urgently boost Sydney’s water recycling and stormwater harvesting, says Cate Faehrmann Greens MP and spokesperson for Water.
“The Government must use this window of opportunity with our dams replenished to develop and fast track a plan for large scale water recycling and water efficiency measures,” said Ms Faehrmann.
“To do this, the government needs to urgently address the regulatory and economic barriers to greater uptake of water recycling. IPART’s pricing mechanism for recycled water, introduced in 2018, has made the cost of installing infrastructure for recycled water 100 to 300 times higher than non-recycled water which means developers aren’t going there.
“This is because the Government is addicted to its Sydney Water dividend of approximately $700 million per year, meaning water restrictions and recycling is the last resort instead of the first.
“We’ve seen record rains fill our dams but it’s only a few months since Sydney was on the verge of running out of water. Unless the government steps up when it comes to water recycling and stormwater harvesting, it won’t be long until we’re staring at emergency levels again.
“We know climate change is making droughts hotter, longer and more frequent. Still Sydney looks set to repeat the mistakes of the millennium drought, learning nothing and doing nothing before getting hit with another drought.
“NSW has no targets to reduce water consumption or increase water recycling, lagging behind other state capitals. The Government needs to invest now in large scale water recycling projects as part of the COVID-19 economic recovery working towards all water being captured and reused in Greater Sydney,” said Ms Faehrmann.
Contact: Jacob Miller - 0428 837 292