Development of regional water strategies

We are working to improve the resilience of our water resources for towns and communities, the environment, Aboriginal communities and industry.

Development of the regional water strategies has been prioritised based on need, risk, and alignment to the State Infrastructure Strategy. This includes a catchment needs assessment for each region and current drought impacts. Upstream catchments are analysed to inform downstream strategies. The information used to develop and finalise the strategies includes scientific data, local and traditional knowledge and community feedback.

We are working with communities across the state in a six-step approach to preparing and implementing regional water strategies.

Six step process for Regional Water Strategies

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Community involvement throughout the process is critical to the strategies. We have been working with councils, joint organisations1, Aboriginal communities and Aboriginal peak groups to develop the draft strategies before going out and seeking public comment. Insights from previous engagement on water resource plans and other programs is used in the development of the regional water strategies.

The strategies will provide an opportunity to explore how we can better integrate and shape future planning and policies to deliver improved water outcomes. The objectives, challenges, opportunities and options identified in the draft regional water strategies will be tested, evaluated and refined based on feedback from the public exhibition process and stakeholder engagement.

The draft regional water strategies will include:

  • a summary of the results from the climate modelling as well as the challenges and opportunities for the region, and
  • a long list of options that could address some of these challenges and opportunities.

We are keen to work with the community to test the long list of options and understand whether there are any additional options we need to consider before they are prioritised. Community feedback and other evidence will be used to analyse these options to create a final short list of actions.

Community feedback will again be sought on the short listed option portfolios before a final regional water strategy for each region is developed.

The final regional water strategies for each region will include:

  • a final package of actions approved by government,
  • an implementation plan including a clear governance structure for delivery, and
  • opportunities for local and regional partnerships

All of which will be focused on maximising water security benefits that are distributed for the best economic and community outcomes.

The Greater Hunter Regional Water Strategy has been finalised and is being implemented.

Work is underway on the strategies throughout 2020-22, and delivery of the final strategies is expected in 2022.

Region Water Strategy Consultation on draft strategy Implementation of final strategy
Greater Hunter  Finalised 2018
Macquarie-Castlereagh2020 and 2022 2022
Gwydir2020 and 20212022
Lachlan2020 and 20222022
Far North Coast 2020 and 2021 2022
South Coast 2020 and 20212022
Border Rivers2020 and 20212022
North Coast 20212022
Namoi 2021 and 20222022
Western 2021 and 2022 2022
Murray 2021 and 2022 2022
Murrumbidgee 2021 and 2022 2022


1. Joint organisations are an entity under the NSW Local Government Act 1993 to perform three principal function in a region: strategic planning and priority setting, intergovernmental collaboration and shared leadership and advocacy. Each joint organisation comprises at least three member councils and aligns with one of the State’s strategic growth planning regions.