The current Lower Hunter Water Plan (LHWP) sets out how we will all ensure there is enough water to supply homes, business and industry in the region, as well as how we will respond to drought. It also includes actions to supply, save and substitute water that are already in place or underway, as well as additional measures to respond to droughts when they occur.
The first LHWP was developed in 2014 by the NSW Government, in collaboration with Hunter Water and with input from other stakeholders and our community.
The LHWP focused on how we would respond to a drought and includes a range of actions we will implement as our storages fall. We are responsible for implementing many of the actions in the plan.
The plan includes actions for both supply (where we get water from) and demand (how we use the water we have) options and these are summarised below.
On the supply side:
- Manage existing surface and groundwater sources to optimise supply from Chichester Dam, Grahamstown Dam, Tomago Sandbeds and Tomaree Sandbeds
- Transfer water between Hunter Water and the Central Coast supply systems via an existing pipeline (and transfer agreement)
- Increase the transfer capacity from the Central Coast to Hunter Water
- Improve modelling tools to optimise water transfer arrangements between the two regions.
- Undertake 'readiness activities' for drought-response desalination if needed in a drought (such as construction of the Belmont temporary desalination plant)
On the demand side:
- Reduce demand through Water Wise Rules, leak detection and pressure management, and water efficiency programs for households and businesses
- Undertake measures during drought as water storage levels fall such as applying water restrictions
- Implement water recycling such as Kooragang industrial, and the Gillieston Heights/Chisholm schemes to reduce the demand on the drinking water supply system
- Install rainwater tanks under the NSW Government's Building Sustainability Index (BASIX) rules to reduce demand on the drinking water supply system.
The Department of Industry - Water is responsible for monitoring and evaluating the implementation of the 2014 LHWP every year. Find copies of the LHWP's Monitoring, Evaluation, Reporting and Improvement (MERI) report in the links below: