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News News Archive Stormwater NSW - Submission on Draft Urban Water Sector Report

Extracted from the Stormwater NSW Submission on Draft Urban Water Sector Report. To download the entire report see the link below.

Key points

Stormwater NSW welcomes and strongly supports a national and broad focus on urban water management. The Productivity Commission is to be commended on its draft report in and how it has sought to document and contextualize the current and possible future directions of urban water reform within its terms of reference.


Stormwater NSW would like to see a greater focus on the current and future role of stormwater as a contributor to urban water management. This must extend beyond the simplistic role of stormwater as a supply for domestic rain tanks and position stormwater as a viable and complementary potable and non-potable source across a range of scales from domestic to regional systems.

 


By extension there must be greater focus on the cost to maintain current and future stormwater infrastructure. This needs to consider: current and future storm events and flooding under climate change scenario (as has been a traditional focus); the planning, construction and maintenance of various water sensitive urban design features; and to provide a transparent and accountable mechanism to track expenditure against urban water plans and policies (including local government and water utilities). It would appear that the draft report has not incorporated stormwater
costs as a contributor to the costs of urban water infrastructure and services. Consequently, Stormwater NSW would like to see pricing and charging of stormwater services be a separated charge on utility and local government billing. This would enable consumers to clearly understand the cost to manage this asset against the agency or local government’s services that would include basic maintenance and capital upgrade of the conveyance system and broader water sensitive urban design solutions such as stormwater harvesting schemes.


There is a need for greater coordination and planning for the management of urban water reform across various catchment scales. For stormwater this needs to transcend local government areas and other institutional arrangements that influence asset ownership and maintenance.


Government policy in the urban water sector must transcend the current reaction based on water scarcity as reflected by restrictions and discussions on water pricing. To this end greater attention needs to be given to ‘fit for purpose’ water as part of the supply chain, particularly for non-potable purposes such as industry and irrigation. Stormwater harvesting is able to provide a significant contribution notwithstanding its
reliance on rainfall.