NSW Health is a regulatory agency for both Sydney Water Corporation and WaterNSW under the Sydney Water Act 1994 and the WaterNSW Act 2014.

In Sydney, water collected in storages prior to treatment is managed by WaterNSW which formed in 2014 from the merger of the Sydney Catchment Authority and State Water.

Sydney Water then treats the water at one of their nine filtration plants before it is distributed to consumers.

A principal objective of WaterNSW under the WaterNSW Act 2014 is to ensure that declared catchment areas and water management works in such areas are managed and protected so as to promote water quality, the protection of public health and public safety, and the protection of the environment. Similarly, a principal objective of Sydney Water under the Sydney Water Act 1994 is to protect public health by supplying safe drinking water to its customers and other members of the public. Sydney Water publishes an online dashboard showing the performance of critical treatment processes that ensure the safety of Sydney’s drinking water.

The Independent Pricing and Regulatory Tribunal (IPART) administers the operating licences of both Sydney Water and WaterNSW which specify that drinking water should be managed in accordance with the Framework for Management of Drinking Water Quality in the Australian Drinking Water Guidelines and that all relevant activities should be carried out to the satisfaction of NSW Health. Sydney Water and WaterNSW are audited annually against their operating licences by IPART.

NSW Health advises Sydney Water and WaterNSW on the application of the Australian Drinking Water Guidelines to ensure safe supply of drinking water. NSW Health maintains a memorandum of understanding with both WaterNSW and Sydney Water.

Sydney Water and WaterNSW are required to report to NSW Health any information or event within their water supply system or operations which may adversely affect public health.

The NSW Chief Health Officer has the responsibility for issuing advice to the public regarding measures available to minimise risk from disease, including water-borne disease. For more information, see the NSW Health response protocol for Sydney Water.

Memorandum of Understanding between NSW Health and Sydney Water Corporation

NSW Health is the public health regulator for drinking water, and also provides advice on quality standards for recycled water. NSW Health maintains a Memorandum of Understanding with Sydney Water Corporation, which forms the basis for a co-operative relationship between the organisations.

The Memorandum of Understanding is available on Sydney Water.

Further Information

Current as at: Monday 27 February 2023
Contact page owner: Environmental Health