Independent NSW MP, Justin Field, has slammed the NSW State Government’s proposal to spend half a billion dollars on a pipeline between Prospect Reservoir and Macarthur calling on the money to be directed to water recycling and water efficiency programs to improve Sydney’s water security.
The plans, revealed in a Sydney Water submission to the state’s pricing regulator IPART in November, described the $561 million pipeline as a drought response to improve water security for the rapidly expanding Macarthur growth area and to address falling water levels in Sydney’s Southern Dams.
The Macarthur pipeline represents the overwhelming majority of capital investment in the Sydney Water expenditure proposal. Mr Field said “The NSW Government has its priorities wrong when it comes to the drought. When the city is crying out for water security in the face of unprecedented low rainfall in the catchment, there is not a single major water recycling proposal in Sydney Water’s plan for the next four years.
"The NSW Government is using the drought to justify a half billion dollar spend on a pipeline that is about future urban growth in Sydney's South West that will do nothing to respond to the current drought nor produce more water into the future. This is money that should be going to large scale water recycling to sure up the city's water supplies now and to build long-term drought resilience.
"The Prospect to Macarthur pipeline wasn't even mentioned when Sydney Water submitted their pricing proposal to IPART in July despite the city being well and truly in the grip of the worst drought on record. Now the Government is claiming this pipeline is their priority drought infrastructure project for Sydney and they want households to pay more for it. That's not planning, that's policy on the run.
"We need more water in the system and the only way to do that when there is no rain falling is to invest in water recycling or desalination and recycling is cheaper and better for the environment. It's time the NSW Government got serious about water recycling and set clear targets for water recycling and reducing water consumption into the future.