Sydney Desalination Plant places a high priority on establishing best environmental, social and governance (ESG) practices in our operations.
We have put in place various environmental initiatives at our site at Kurnell, achieved 100 per cent offset of our emissions for energy used to produce water, collaborated with community groups such as the La Perouse Local Aboriginal Land Council, have a gender diverse board, and are committed to meeting all our many regulatory requirements.
Located on the land of the Gweagal clan of the Dharawal people (on the Kurnell Peninsula), Sydney Desalination Plant works with the La Perouse Local Aboriginal Land Council to acknowledge the traditional custodians and minimise any impacts on the local land and marine environment.
We are pleased to be recognised with a GRESB five-star rating and to have received the 2021 GRESB Most Improved Award.
Governance: Independent benchmarking
To monitor our performance, the Plant has been taking part in the Global ESG Benchmark (GRESB) assessment since 2017. GRESB is the global benchmark for the ESG performance of real estate and infrastructure assets.
The GRESB assessment is split into two major components – management and performance.
In 2021, the Plant received an 87 per cent score for management (69 per cent peer group average) and 95 per cent for performance (60 per cent peer group average) across all ESG aspects, ranking fourth overall in our peer group.
We have continuously worked to improve the Plant’s GRESB assessment, achieving a 20 per cent increase in 2022 to score a total of 94 out of 100. This placed us in the top 20 per cent of our peer group.
SDP’s Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) objectives
SDP’s Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) Statement supports an inclusive workplace culture where everyone can achieve success which results in benefits for SDP, its employees and its stakeholders. Along with our Code of Conduct and company values, it clarifies the standards of behaviour and conduct that are expected of employees and directors in the performance of their duties.
At SDP, we value diversity of thought and experience and believe that our inclusive and collaborative culture contributes to our success. We are a diverse workforce that reflects contemporary, multicultural Australia. We celebrate and promote this diversity as a strength of our business.
SDP’s commitment to recognising the importance of DEI extends to all areas of the business including recruitment, retention, performance management processes, promotions, talent identification, succession planning, training and development, resignations and remuneration processes.
Sydney Desalination Plant's owners are highly experienced in managing major infrastructure assets around the world.Find out more
Meet the team behind the Sydney Desalination Plant.Find out more
We are committed to providing great water and value to Sydneysiders at all times.Find out more
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.