Building and development

Within Greater Sydney's drinking water catchment.

Protecting water quality

We provide advice and guidance for new development applications within the Greater Sydney drinking water catchment.

Every year there is a range of new residential, commercial, industrial and agricultural development and activities in Greater Sydney's drinking water catchment.

All proposed developments in this catchment are required to have a neutral or beneficial effect on water quality (NorBE).

A NorBE is satisfied if the development:

  • has no identifiable potential impact on water quality, or
  • will contain any water quality impact on the development site and prevent it from reaching any watercourse, waterbody or drainage depression on the site, or
  • will transfer any water quality impact outside the site where it is treated and disposed of to standards approved by the consent authority.

Councils in the catchment carry out NorBE assessments for development applications (DAs) that have a lower risk to water quality and refer more complex DAs to WaterNSW for concurrence.

All public authorities, such as government departments, are also required to consider whether the activity would have a NorBE.

The following aims to help you understand how you can meet the water quality requirements for your development proposal:

Using a consultant

For more complex developments, we recommend using a consultant to prepare the water cycle management study for your development application.

Please note, WaterNSW cannot recommend specific consultants or specialists.

Current  Recommended Practices

Current Recommended Practices (CRPs) and standards are to be used by developers and consultants to design and prepare proposals for new development in the Greater Sydney drinking water catchment.

Developers and consultants must demonstrate compliance with CRPs and standards in their applications. Where different management practices are incorporated (outside of CRPs), it must be demonstrated that these practices achieve an equivalent or better outcome for water quality in the Greater Sydney Drinking Water Catchment.

Catchment map

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WaterNSW acknowledges the traditional custodians of the lands and waters on which we work and pay our respects to all elders past, present and emerging. Learn more