Planning for the Future

The Department of Industry - Water is the lead government agency responsible for the Lower Hunter Water Plan (LHWP). Hunter Water worked closely with the Department of Industry, our community and a range of other stakeholders to produce the first LHWP in 2014.

The LHWP is intended to be adaptive, and we are currently undertaking a major review of the LHWP as part of a whole-of-government approach to long-term water planning in our region.

The review will ensure the LHWP remains contemporary and reflective of our community values. Our new long-term plan will enable us to better adapt to future uncertainties, such as population growth and climate variability, as well as take advantage of future opportunities.

The new LHWP will consider a range of options for both supply (where we get water from) and demand (how we use the water we have) to ensure we have a sustainable and reliable supply of water, now and for the future.

These are the option types we're considering:

View our LHWP Summary 


A lot of work goes into developing a new LHWP, here is a rough guide to all the steps:

LHWP Timeline

  • Learning from the community about what's important to them - and making sure we reflect our community values in our long-term water planning.
  • Understanding future challenges and opportunities so we can be better prepared to respond to an uncertain future.
  • Making sure we have a robust plan in place to respond to drought.
  • Understanding all feasible options and their potential role in our long-term plan.
  • Understanding community attitudes on the type of options we are considering and reflecting community preferences in our decisions.
  • Undertaking investigations and studies to ensure we understand the feasibility, cost, impacts and benefits of the options to allow an objective comparison of options.
  • Developing 'portfolios' of options and assessing these against future states.
  • Talk with our community about these portfolios.

The new LHWP is expected to be released in 2021.

Visit our Your Voice page for frequently asked questions


Engaging with our Community

Understanding our community values, attitudes and preferences is fundamental to our long-term planning.

In late 2018 we hosted two forums with our community to talk about water and what's important to them in long term water planning. We have reflected these community values in the goals and objectives for the Water Resilience Program.

Community forums were held in June 2019 to talk with our community about their preferences and perceptions of different water supply and demand option types.

There will be further opportunities to get involved too, including region-wide community engagement programs to build on what we have heard at the forums.

We'll use all this feedback to make sure community values and preferences are reflected in our planning decisions.

Want to be part of the conversation and keep up to date?  Visit Your Voice - Planning our water future