5. Reduce stormwater runoff


Stormwater runoff, and all the rubbish and other pollution it brings with it, is the number one way our river gets dirty. A catchment-wide approach to reducing this runoff will use water sensitive urban design that absorbs and filters rain where it lands to improve water quality.

There are currently nine councils, Transport for NSW and the Sydney Olympic Park Authority (SOPA) that sit on a Stormwater Subcommittee which is dedicated to adopting a regional approach to the installation, maintenance of water sensitive urban design (WSUD) and stormwater infrastructure for the catchment. As part of this, the Subcommittee is:

  • Reviewing council expenditure on stormwater infrastructure with a goal to adopt a regional outlook on investment.
  • Auditing existing stormwater infrastructure assets across the catchment with a goal of identifying gaps and developing innovative responses to stormwater issues.
  • Reviewing councils’ policies when it comes to the design, investment, installation and maintenance of stormwater infrastructure, including how infrastructure is procured and how it is maintained on both public and private land.
  • Incorporating WSUD where appropriate for council areas, and improved stormwater management responses on roadways and parklands.
  • Educating council and state government employees on best practice stormwater management to facilitate a shift in culture to best practice WSUD in the catchment.


Adopt a regional approach to the installation, maintenance and reporting of stormwater infrastructure and water sensitive urban design (WSUD) infrastructure.



Lead Agency

City of Parramatta and Sydney Water.

Current Measure

The workplan, as agreed by the subcommittee, is progressed on time and in budget.

Status Update

The Stormwater Subcommittee continues to meet on a regular basis. The priorities of the group centre around improving the capacity of councils to build and manage green infrastructure that will treat stormwater before it enters our river and impacts on swim sites. The Delivery Engine is working on pathways to fund more stormwater treatment infrastructure, as well as prioritising where infrastructure is required in the catchment.

Progress Timeline

June – October 2021

  • The Stormwater Subcommittee has met twice in the last quarter.
  • The committee is progressing the workplan which is focusing on developing sustainable stormwater management plans and foreshore litter prevention.
  • Audit of private WSUD is on hold due to site access restrictions associated with the COVID lockdown.
  • Construction of Milson Park wetland (Westmead) by Sydney Water is nearing completion.
  • Sydney Water’s Waterway Health Improvement Program will fund additional projects in the Parramatta catchment over the next eight years – Dobroyd Canal naturalisation, Deakin Park wetland, Vineyard Creek dam floating wetland, Surrey Street Chain of Ponds.
April – June 2021

  • The Stormwater Subcommittee has met once in the last quarter.
  • The committee is planning a two-day Water Sensitive Urban Design (WSUD) capacity building workshop for Council staff in June.
  • PRCG funding is committed for a project to audit the condition of private WSUD assets.
  • Construction of Milson Park Wetland in Westmead by Sydney Water is nearing completion.
  • Finalising the identification capital work projects in catchment that will be funded under Sydney Water’s Waterway Health Improvement Program.
January – March 2021

  • Committee has met once in the last quarter.
  • Committee is planning a two-day face-to-face workshop in May to build WSUD capacity for council staff.
  • Funding committed for a project to audit the condition of private WSUD assets.
October – December 2020

  • Stormwater Subcommittee met three times in last quarter.
  • Victoria Kramkowski presented to the committee via zoom on Stormwater fees in practice in the Canadian context.
  • Coastal and Estuary grant scoped to fund implementation of the Workplan for 2020/2021.
  • Internal partnerships are being developed to support tendering of maintenance work, asset recording/maintenance of private WSUD, and developing prioritisation frameworks for new WSUD.
  • Draft funding paper developed to analyse how councils and the state government can sustainably fund WSUD infrastructure for the future.
July – September 2020

  • 2020/2021 workplan and priorities for Step 5 subcommittee have been set.
  • Subcommittee met three times in last quarter.
  • Member Councils have nominated projects to be funded under Sydney Water’s Waterway Health Improvement Program (Tranche 2) – subject to feasibility assessment.
  • One-day capacity building workshop planned for October 2020.
April – June 2020

  • Sustainable Funding Paper released to Group for comment.
  • Stormwater Subcommittee met six times.
  • Simon Lloyd provided his report on Microbial hazards in urban stormwater and their removal through Water Sensitive Urban Design.
  • Capacity building/training postponed until September.
January – March 2020

  • Stormwater Subcommittee met four times.
  • Workplan developed and all tasks endorsed by group.
  • Desktop analysis of WSUD assets undertaken.
October – December 2019

  • Stormwater Subcommittee met three times.
  • Workplan developed and first 18 months of tasks endorsed by group.
  • Interviews held at all member councils within the catchment (except Strathfield Council).
July – September 2019

  • Stormwater Subcommittee established and met twice.
  • Workplan under development based on actions identified by committee members at last meeting.
April – June 2019

  • Stormwater survey prepared and distributed to local councils to understand how stormwater is being managed across the catchment and provide a basis for future actions.

Useful Links

There are a number of resources and best practice examples currently in place for Water Sensitive Urban Design and stormwater infrastructure types: