In August 2021, the NSW Government released its first long-term strategy which will set the direction and inform planning and infrastructure investment in water-related policy for the next 20 to 40 years. The NSW Water Strategy details 40 actions across seven priority areas designed to rebuild community confidence in water management and improve the security, reliability, quality and resilience of the state’s water resources.
NSW, like much of Australia, has only recently emerged from a long period of drought, which came quickly after the Millennium Drought. Many communities were shocked to find how vulnerable regional and metropolitan water security had become, lessening their ability to cope with extreme events like bushfire, drought and flooding.
NSW’s strategy is aligned with Australia’s National Water Initiative, agreed to by the Council of Australian Governments in 2004. It also coincides with the launch of the Water Project Map, a new tool for people to access information about all water infrastructure projects across NSW.
Water availability across Australia has always been highly variable – with extremes of wet and dry – and this will continue, perhaps becoming more pronounced. Variability of inflows means that our systems need to capture water when it is available to manage reliability of supply over time. Rainwater tanks provide insurance against future climate conditions for households, farms and industries. The NSW Water Strategy recognises the need for individuals, as well as governments, to prepare for even greater stress than we have experienced to date around water resources and services.
The Strategy clearly articulates the water resource management and service delivery framework and policy context for NSW, including how the Murray-Darling Basin Plan and state-wide, regional, metropolitan and local strategic water policy and planning frameworks work together. The Government will also pilot new technologies to increase the state’s water options such as onsite grey water reuse tools and support diversified sources of water, such as stormwater harvesting and recycling.
NSW commissioned extensive new modelling and datasets to inform their decision making. These have given a much better understanding of future climate conditions, and less monthly rainfall seems inevitable. Individual actions around water use, as well as decisions to take personal responsibility around securing water supply though the installation of water tanks will become increasingly important to ensure future water security. Individuals have important responsibilities to support state and national strategies and secure their own safe water supply as we grapple with the challenges of climate change on our dry continent.
It is now more important than ever that as individuals we do our part and secure our home water supply whether in NSW or anywhere in Australia. What can you do to help secure Australia’s water and counter drought and scarcity?
Investing in a rainwater tank is how you can be a part of the solution! By Installing a slimline tank in a residential area, or a large poly rainwater tank you can do your part by harvesting rainwater when the rain is abundant. This supports the New South Wales water strategy to protect our scarce water.
There is a tank for all Australians, whether it’s a narrow, space efficient slimline for the side of the house, a large polyethylene tank or a rugged galvanised steel rainwater tank, there is a tank for any situation. Other benefits of owning a rainwater tank include reduced water bills and gaining peace of mind knowing that you are harvesting rainwater and not letting it go down the drain.
Moving forward, Australia is going to have to come together and work hard to keep our scarce water abundant. This involves adapting to our environment, coming together to create positive change, and raising awareness of rainwater harvesting and environmentally sustainable practices.