Sydney’s soaring immigration will require the Harbour City to produce an extra 49 million litres of water a day, shocking new figures have revealed.
Crippling droughts mean that the city is running out of water at a rapid rate and recycled water unfit for drinking could soon be used to hydrate gardens and flush toilets.
Sydney is already on Level One water restrictions, meaning residents can be fined for washing their car with a hose or watering their gardens between 10am and 4pm.
While the city is already under huge pressure to provide enough water, government figures have revealed that the population is expected to soar from 5.2million to 6.4 million by 2029.
Each Sydney resident uses on average 195 litres of water per person, per day, according to figure released by Sydney Water.
Drinking from the hose will be a thing of the past for new dwellings due to migration-driven pressure on Sydney’s water supply. One proposal to cope is to recycle sewage through separate purple pipes in new dwellings for use on gardens and in toilets
Children would have to keep their mouths closed if they played on the slip-n-slide in dwellings where non-drinking recycled water is used for the garden
Sydney Water anticipates it will have to service 36,000 new dwellings per year until 2026, based on 2016 NSW Government forecasts.
Assuming one resident per dwelling, this would put an additional strain of more than 7 million litres per day on Sydney’s water supply in 2020, increasing to just over 49 million litres per day from 252,000 new dwellings by the end of 2026.
Sydney Water expects the rate of population expansion to increase again to 38,000 new dwellings per year from 2027 to 2031.
Sydney’s $2.3 billion desalination plant has already been running at full capacity since late July, Sydney Water said, providing 250 million litres of drinking water per day or about 15 percent of supply.
To cope with rapid migration-driven growth Sydney water has unveiled plans to supply future homes with water that is unfit for drinking.
Sydney’s $2.3 billion desalination plant has been running at full capacity since late July. The plant is helping the city cope with excess water demand from the the city’s migration-driven population increase of almost a million people in the last decade coupled with drought
A separate plumbing system would deliver treated and recycled sewage unfit for drinking through purple-coloured pipes and taps for use on gardens and for flushing toilets, a Sydney Water spokesperson told Daily Mail Australia.
Drinking water would still be available from kitchen taps.
A Sydney Water spokesperson told Daily Mail Australia that its infrastructure planning had adequately catered for future growth in the Greater Sydney Area through the Metropolitan Water Plan.
‘In 2019-20, Sydney Water will spend $701 million in capital works to support and improve infrastructure, so it continues to reliably service a growing Sydney, while protecting the environment,’the spokesperson said.
‘This includes $115 million to maintain and upgrade wastewater networks; $235 million to maintain and upgrade water and wastewater plants; and $260 million for water and wastewater infrastructure to service growth in the Illawarra and across Sydney.’
In 2016-17, 85 percent of net overseas migration (NOM) growth occurred in Sydney. This table shows how 88,770 migrants settled in Sydney in one year. Only 15,708 went elsewhere in NSW
‘Sydney Water has invested heavily in our networks, with a 57 per cent increase in staff and contractors directly working to reduce leaks caused by drought. There has been an investment of $30 million in additional work crews with active leak detection increasing by 40 per cent.’
Without migration, the Federal Government’s population plan predicts Sydney’s population growth would stabilise to a reduced rate of 0.3 per cent in the years to 2027.
NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian’s spokesperson told Daily Mail Australia that the premier was pushing for states to have a role in Federal Government migration decisions.
The spokesperson said as a result of her advocacy, national population policy had been put on the agenda of future Council of Australian Governments (COAG) meetings – a forum where state, territory and local government representatives discuss issues with the Federal Government.
‘NSW takes the lion’s share of overseas immigration,’ the Premier’s spokesperson said.
‘Since the states are responsible for most services and infrastructure, the states must have a greater say on where Commonwealth infrastructure dollars go.’
Ms Berejiklian did not say whether the government would consider putting a cap on new dwelling construction in order to discourage new residents from moving to Sydney.
NSW Water Minister Melinda Pavey was not able to respond in time for publication.