Town water security

Murrumbidgee River, NSW.

Understanding water security

Understanding water security is important to ensure long-term continuous access to reliable water supply. Uninterrupted long-term access to water contributes to public health, economic development opportunities, social amenity, and liveability – allowing communities to grow and thrive.

Water security ensures a local water utility can meet the water supply needs for customers and community, over time and in response to changes to supply and demand, including the impacts of climate change, population growth and extreme events.

Guidance on understanding water security

As part of its strategic planning oversight under the Regulatory and assurance framework for local water utilities, the department has issued guidance on the strategic planning outcome of understanding water security (PDF, 971.82 KB).

The Guidance sets out the department’s expectations that utilities need to achieve to a reasonable standard on the water security outcome that includes understanding on:

  • what is the local water utility's access to current and potential water supply sources?
  • how will the local water utility address current and future risks around continuity and reliability of access to water supply sources?

Appendix A of the guidance document provides optional ‘how to’ guidance that covers variety of area including step by step approach for water security analysis for water supply systems on unregulated surface water sources, regulated surface water sources and ground water sources that may help utilities to address many of the expectations.

Regional Water Strategies and town water security analysis

The NSW Water Strategy takes a strategic and integrated approach to looking after the state’s water. It sets the overarching vision and objectives to guide water service delivery and management across NSW, aligned with the 12 regional water strategies and the 2 metropolitan water strategies – the Greater Sydney Water Strategy and the Lower Hunter Water Security Plan. Together, the strategies will improve the resilience of NSW’s water services and resources.

Regional water strategies bring together the most up-to-date information and evidence in an integrated package that includes policy, regulatory, educational, technology, and infrastructure solutions. Based on best evidence, the strategies aim to balance different water needs and deliver the right amount of water of the right quality for the right purpose at the right times.

The strategies look at the next 20 to 40 years to understand a region’s water needs to meet future demand, the challenges and choices involved in meeting those demands, and the actions available to manage risks to water availability.

Regional water strategy modelling outputs have the potential to provide input data for a utility’s water security analysis. The modelled data consists of climate data at selected locations across the state (rainfall and evapotranspiration), as well as streamflow data.

For more information visit the Regional Water Strategies.

Paleo-stochastic climatic datasets

The department has stochastic climate data available for climate stations across NSW. The primary purpose is to use stochastic climate data as input data for water modelling that analyses water-related outcomes of river basins under long-term climate. We are progressively making these datasets available on the SEED Open Data Portal.

We make current information on climate data and modelling available in the following fact sheets.