The Sydney region

Overview of the 2011–12 year

Rainfall across the entire Sydney region was above average for the 2011–12 year. These rainfall conditions contributed to levels in storages being at full or close to full capacity across the region. The volume of water held in storages increased during the 2011–12 year by 537,432 ML. Closing net water assets in the Sydney region was 2,783,245 ML, compared to 2,236,318 ML at the end of the 2010–11 year. For more information on the region's water assets refer to Water accounting statements.

The Sydney region sources most of its water supply for the urban water supply system from its vast surface water storage network. Storage capacity in the Sydney region is one of the largest in the world per head of population. Groundwater contributes a small percentage of water supply but represents only 6% of all water rights on the region.

The key water account information for the Sydney region during the 2011–12 year are presented in the following table. Information on the uncertainty associated with the volumes presented in the table is provided in the relevant sections of the account. 


Key water account information for the Sydney region during the 2011–12 year

Contextual information: Climate overview
Climate Overview 2011–12 2010–11 Long–term average
Rainfall: 1,184 mm Rainfall: 992 mm Rainfall: 898 mm
Evapotranspiration: 858 mm Evapotranspiration: 816 mm Evapotranspiration: 696 mm
For more detail on the Sydney climate refer to Climate overview.


Contextual information: Water overview
Water overview Shoalhaven River Colo River Comment
Average to above average flows Below average flows Data for the Colo River for the months from July –September was incomplete
For more detail on streamflow in the Sydney region refer to Water overview.


Water accounting statements
Accounting statements 2011–12 2010–11
Total water assets (as at 30 June) 2,783,245 2,241,681
Total water liabilities (as at 30 June) 0 5,363
Change in net water assets 546,927 536,464
Closing net water assets 2,783,245 2,236,318
For more detail on water assets and water liabilities refer to Accounting statements.



Notes: Water resources and systems


Surface water storage
Surface water 30 June 2012 30 June 2011
Total capacity Volume % of capacity Volume % of capacity
2,862,252 ML 2,776,537 ML 97.1% 2,239,105 ML 78.2%
For more detail on surface water storage in the Sydney region refer to 1.1 Storages.


Water abstractions
Groundwater Total water abstracted
2011–12 2010–11 Recent activity
Surface water: 505,683 ML Surface water: 515,829 ML Similar trend across years
Groundwater: 19,652 ML Groundwater: 9,686 ML
For more detail on water abstraction in the Sydney region refer to Surface water and Groundwater.


Urban water supply
Urban water system
Total water supplied  
2011–12 2010–11 Recent activity
489,557 ML 506,242 ML Similar trend across years
For more detail on the urban water system in the Sydney region refer to Urban water system .