The region’s water system includes all aspects of supply including potable, waste and storm water along with the natural systems and catchments. The Shoalhaven is also an important part of the water supply for Sydney, however expansion of storage capacity is constrained by suitability of locations for construction of new dams. The system is under pressure from a changing climate, population growth, new residential developments and variations in seasonal demand, with the capacity of sewerage infrastructure also exceeded in some towns during peak tourist season.
Local Councils have a key role to play by incorporating principles such as Water Sensitive Urban Design (WSUD) into new or existing developments. This will assist in improving water quality and biodiversity of natural catchments which can lead to positive downstream impacts for estuaries, aquaculture, recreation and some industrial water users. Monitoring and early warning of extreme climate events (e.g. early flash flood warnings) also enables appropriate management responses to ensure system resilience under a changing climate, and allow improved planning for the protection, relocation and renewal of sewer and stormwater infrastructure.
The ISJO envisions multifunctional water catchments that are safe, secure, productive and resilient, and that support potable consumption, biodiversity, recreational activities and use of water by industry and engages with local communities and responsible agencies to deliver.