Industrial and non-domestic use of groundwater from the Botany Sands aquifer

Extraction of groundwater is restricted in parts of the Botany Bay area by order under the Water Management Act 2000 due to a century of industrial pollution.

A revised temporary water restrictions order was issued in 2018.

Groundwater extraction for non-domestic uses and by water access licences holders specified in the order must comply with revised requirements.

Temporary water restrictions for the Botany Sands groundwater source

Temporary water restrictions for groundwater extraction have been in place since 2006 for parts of the Botany Bay area (see map below). The restrictions seek to minimise the risk to residents from exposure to potentially polluted groundwater. They also prevent the movement of polluted water through widespread pumping.

All domestic use of groundwater in this area is banned. Taking water for non-domestic uses is permitted under certain conditions and requirements.

A revised temporary water restrictions order was issued in 2018 to clarify the conditions for taking water for non-domestic purposes in Area 1 and 2.

Groundwater extraction in Area 1

Water extraction in Area 1 is only allowed if:

  • the groundwater extracted is:
    • for remediation, temporary construction dewatering, testing or monitoring purposes or
    • under the authority of a water access licence specified in the Order, and
      • the water is ‘fit for purpose’ as defined in the Order, and
      • records of testing are kept in accordance with the requirements specified in the Order.

Groundwater extraction in Area 2

Water extraction in Area 2 is allowed if:

  • the groundwater extracted is:
    • for remediation, temporary construction dewatering, testing or monitoring purposes or
    • for a purpose other than human consumption, consumption by animals or domestic purposes, and
      • the water is ‘fit for purpose’ as defined in the Order, and
      • records of testing are kept in accordance with the requirements specified in the Order.

Fit for purpose

To be fit for purpose, the water extracted must be:

  • sampled, tested and treated in accordance with a certified water testing plan, and
  • certified in writing by a appropriate consultant as being safe and suitable for its intended use.

Map of restricted areas

Download a larger diagram of the Map of Sydney with restricted water areas for Botany Sands groundwater (PNG, 734.73 KB)

Map of Sydney with restricted water areas

Holders of industrial groundwater extraction licences listed in the water restrictions order and those using water for non-domestic purposes in Area 1 and 2 on the map must comply with conditions and requirements. Extraction by residents for domestic purposes is prohibited in Area 1 and Area 2.

Where can I get more information?

  • For more information about the fit-for-purpose test and the extraction of water in the restricted areas, see the current Temporary Water Restrictions Order for the Botany Sands Groundwater Source 2018 (PDF, 274.01 KB) or contact your licensor.
  • NSW Department of Industry—Lands & Water is the licensor for state significant development and infrastructure proponents, government agencies and water utilities. WaterNSW is the licensor for other customers, including local residents.
  • Environment Protection Authority has information about groundwater pollution in the Botany area
  • Orica Botany site has information about the remediation of contamination at the site
  • Call your NSW public health unit on 1300 066 055 for possible health risks from exposure to groundwater in the areas where the current Temporary Water Restrictions Order applies
  • NSW Health has information about groundwater use and health at Botany
  • WaterNSW has information about licensing, construction and decommissioning of water bores and use of groundwater. Call 1300 662 077 or email Customer.Helpdesk@waternsw.com.au

Report any suspected pollution incidents or water quality issues to the Environment Protection Agency’s environment line on 131 555.