20 Year Infrastructure Options Study

20 Year Infrastructure Options Study

WaterNSW has developed a 20 Year Infrastructure Options Study - rural valleys (PDF, 13786.43 KB) which provides a strategic level qualitative assessment of potential infrastructure options to meet long‑term level of service (LOS) objectives in regulated river water supply areas (“valleys”) across NSW (excluding Greater Sydney).

This options study identifies infrastructure options that were considered successful in qualitatively addressing our perceived LOS gaps within a valley. Should customers or Government wish to explore the opportunities to close the identified LOS gaps, then we recommend the identified options be investigated in more detail. This options study will be further developed with appropriate customer input, technical assessment and cost-benefit analysis. Customers will be consulted about their long-term LOS priorities and the infrastructure options they will support to meet those needs.

The cost estimates presented in this document are strategic (pre‑feasibility) level estimates, and so carry inherent uncertainty commensurate with the level of detail of this work. The cost estimates were prepared for options comparison only. The infrastructure sizes and costs will be further reviewed in future studies. This options study is not a Capital Investment Plan for WaterNSW, but rather a baseline to guide future decision making and benchmark future investments.

This options study does not address the potential operational or regulatory options that need to be considered when making investment decisions. These options are being developed by WaterNSW in parallel and will come together prior to WaterNSW’s 2021 price review. This study fulfils the target setup by Infrastructure New South Wales (INSW)’s 2014 State Infrastructure Strategy Update (SIS) and NSW Government’s election commitment.


WaterNSW’s customers were widely engaged regarding the development of the level of service (LOS) framework and the 20 Year Infrastructure Options Study in late 2016 through to 2017 across customer stakeholder committees and customer advisory groups (CAGs). This 20 Year Infrastructure Options Study was developed by WaterNSW based on feedback from our operational staff about the main LOS issues facing each valley, based on their day-to-day interaction with its customers.

The LOS Customer Engagement process proposed by WaterNSW will give the opportunity to customers to provide their input. WaterNSW will arrange meetings where a large range of customers will be invited to provide feedback during the course of 2018 to early 2019. A range of external stakeholders will also be engaged.

The 20 Year Infrastructure Options Study document is available on WaterNSW website and anyone can provide feedback through “Your Voice” our online community.

This document is not an investment plan because it does not address core government major investment processes. Most of the options identified in this strategy will need to be studied in more detail and will require major Business Case review before investment decisions can be made.

The first step is to confirm customers’ LOS issues and priorities. This will be followed by assessing whether the options identified will address the LOS needs or whether new solutions will need to be developed. At this stage, further investigations are subject to funding being provided and WaterNSW will prepare a detailed business case to examine technical, economic and financial aspects for investment consideration by customers or NSW government.

This options study includes possibilities that have the potential to improve the long-term water availability for our customers and communities across NSW. Providing new storages is one of a suite of options being considered to improve water availability across the rural valleys. Further technical and economic studies, and customer engagement will identify which of the options are the most appropriate to be progressed.

WaterNSW will create a large range of tools to enable both its customers and the wider community to provide feedback. People can register to the online community “Your Voice” which is an example of one of the methods WaterNSW will use to engage community and environmental stakeholders to understand their needs and concerns.

The first round of LOS customer consultation will take place in late February until June 2018. The second round of consultation will take place in late August 2018 until March 2019. This process will be communicated with the community such as regional councils, user groups and local residents. WaterNSW will use its community engagement platform called “Your Voice” to facilitate these discussions.

WaterNSW identified some key LOS gaps from various consultations with key operational staff. A broad list of infrastructure options was then developed and costed to a strategic level. To assess and compare options, a set of assessment criteria were developed and a high level multi-criteria analysis was carried out.

This options study was developed by WaterNSW. The next iteration of the strategy could involve the work of external consultants to inform the engineering and economic analysis of the options.

The time needed to assess each option varies significantly. It is anticipated that all customer engagement and technical work will be completed by mid-2019. Customers will have an opportunity to have their say, based on their LOS priorities. Customer supported options will be included in WaterNSW’s pricing submission to IPART in mid-2020. Funding needed to either build the asset or do further studies will be approved and determined by IPART.

There are a number of ways in which a new infrastructure can be funded. It can be either through the IPART funding process, government grant, or combination of these. The likely impact of the proposed options on the price of water, as well as possible funding options, will be determined and presented to customers to aid their choice as to which options to support.

In 2015 WaterNSW was established by merging Sydney Catchment Authority (SCA) with State Water Corporation. WaterNSW identified the urgent need to develop the 20YIOS.

The need for WaterNSW to develop a 20 year Infrastructure Options Study is referred to INSW 2014 Infrastructure Strategy. The State Infrastructure Strategy (SIS) is a 20-year infrastructure investment plan for the NSW Government that places strategic fit and economic merit at the centre of investment decisions. The strategy assesses infrastructure problems and solutions, and provides recommendations to best grow the State's economy, enhance productivity and improve living standards for NSW community.

You can download a copy from the bottom of this page.

WaterNSW will inform key project outcomes through:

  • Customer consultation meetings
  • Media releases
  • WaterNSW website and social media
  • Direct emails to CAG members
  • WaterNSW online community platform ‘Your Voice’

WaterNSW options study covers the rural regulated valleys. It is envisaged that strategic options will be developed for Greater Sydney System in the near future. This will involve close consultation with Greater Sydney customers.

This study is not a capital works plan.  It identifies potential options which, if consider appropriate can be progress to the business cases for WaterNSW and Government consideration through formal review (e.g. NSW Gateway). From there Government may consider progressing such projects to completion. Funding might come from a number of sources e.g. WaterNSW’s IPART submission.


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