' . esc_attr($image['alt']) . '

SDP Brings Endangered Species Back to Kurnell

Sydney Desalination Plant is helping reintroduce endangered green and golden bell frogs to the Kurnell Peninsula nearly three decades after they were last seen in the area.

More than 1,600 tadpoles have been carefully brought to our site as part of a breeding program run by Symbio Wildlife Park and Veolia, which operates the Plant. The tadpoles are fed and monitored daily in a specially designed tadpole ‘nursery’.

The nursery, which is adjacent to our 15-hectare conservation area and the Kamay Botany Bay National Park, includes freshwater and saltwater tanks designed to provide optimal conditions for the tadpoles’ growth.

The freshwater tanks allow the tadpoles to develop in their infancy, while the saltwater tanks help protect adolescent frogs by reducing disease risk.

The breeding program started in May 2023 and has since seen hundreds of endangered native tadpoles metamorphosed into frogs. Tadpoles continue to be delivered to the Plant, and sound monitoring devices have been installed to record frog calling sounds.

Colin Storey, Veolia’s principal chemist who has been pivotal in launching and maintaining the program, said the tadpoles are monitored daily, and fed zucchini to help them grow.

“That’s the food they seem to love. You throw it in, and it’s all gone the next day,” he said.

The green and golden bell frog was the first species listed as threatened in NSW and is believed to be the first frog encountered by Captain James Cook’s party on arrival at Botany Bay in 1770. While they were once common to the area, their numbers dwindled due to habitat loss, disease, and hunting by other animals.

“Biodiversity is such an important part of the natural environment,” Storey said.

“Any lost animal species is a huge loss to the world. This program will hopefully change that and help bring this incredible species back to the area. While it is still early, we hope to hear more green and golden bell frogs calling in nearby swamps.”

SDP Chief Executive Philip Narezzi said the Plant is proud to support the initiative and looks forward to more programs with Veolia and Symbio Wildlife Park to protect local fauna and flora.

“This program will not only make a meaningful contribution to the conservation of the green and golden bell frog but also help raise awareness about the species and the importance of preserving our natural habitats.

“As a key member of the local community, we are committed to protecting the environment and the wildlife that call it home.”

Related Posts

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Is the Sydney Desalination Plant operating?
    While the Plant was originally designed to operate only in times of drought, it has remained operational since 2019 to help address several storage dam water quality issues arising from bushfires, flooding and significant maintenance tasks in Sydney Water’s supply network.

    The Sydney Desalination Plant’s WICA Network Operator’s Licence enables the Plant to remain operational, recognising that the Plant has always been, and will continue to be, an essential component of Sydney’s water management and an integral part of our city’s water-resilient future.
  • How much water does the Plant produce?
    The Plant can provide up to 15 per cent of Sydney’s average drinking water needs without any reliance on rainfall.

    It treats, filters and re-mineralises seawater to produce up to 91.25 gigalitres per annum of high-quality drinking water.

    Under our WICA Network Operator’s Licence, the Plant will operate on a “flexible full-time basis”, producing between about 20 gigalitres to 91.25 gigalitres every year.
  • What does desalinated water taste like?
    Sydney Desalination Plant water is treated to taste the same as Sydney’s other drinking water.

    Like dam water, water from the desalination plant is treated to meet Australian Drinking Water Guidelines, which makes it among the best in the world.
  • Who owns the Plant?
    Sydney Desalination Plant is jointly owned by the Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan Board and the Utilities Trust of Australia, which is managed by Morrison & Co. Find out more on our About Us page.
  • Why is desalination important?
    The Sydney Desalination Plant is Sydney’s only major sources of non-rainfall dependent drinking water. It is one effective way of securing Sydney’s water supply against the effects of climate change and natural disasters and the increase in demand due to population growth, warmer weather and urban greening projects.

    While the Plant was originally designed to respond to Australia’s severe millennium drought, recent experiences have demonstrated that drought is only one type of event that requires support from the Plant to ensure clean and safe drinking water for Greater Sydney.

    The Plant has been a reliable drinking water supply during floods and bushfires, which caused water quality challenges from time to time in Sydney’s storage dams.
  • Where does the water go?
    The Plant can supply water to homes and businesses south of Sydney Harbour and as far west as Bankstown, as part of all their water supply.

    Sydney Water uses a variety of water sources to supply customer needs. Where your water comes from depends on demand and where in Sydney you live.

    If you live in the blue-shaded area on this map, you may receive water from the dams, the Sydney Desalination Plant or a combination of both. The Plant's water proportion will change throughout the day due to variations in supply and demand.

    Everyone will benefit from desalination because it allows more water to be left in the dams, which means a more secure water supply for Sydney.
  • How much energy does the Plant use?
    The Sydney Desalination Plant requires roughly 38 megawatts at full production and is 100 per cent powered by renewable energy.

    The average energy needed to provide drinking water to one household is about the same as the energy used to run a household fridge.
  • What’s the impact on the environment?
    Sydney Desalination Plant places a high priority on minimising any environmental impacts – both on land and in the water.

    To support this, the Plant has put in place a world first stringent six-year marine environment monitoring program. The marine environment was monitored for three years before construction and three years after the Plant became operational. It demonstrated that the Plant has minimal effect on the marine environment.

    On land, a third of the Plant site at Kurnell has been maintained as a conservation area. This area is protected, and native species of flora and fauna are regularly monitored. This includes a program to survey the numbers of grey-headed flying foxes and green and golden bell frogs in the area.