Greater Sydney currently consumes energy and water resources and creates waste well beyond what can be managed within its boundaries. Recycling wastewater and stormwater can recover resources and energy and diversify the sources of water to meet growing demand, irrigate open spaces, keep waterways clean and contribute to Greater Sydney's water quality objectives.
When State Environmental Planning Policy (Building Sustainability Index: BASIX) 2004 was introduced, it marked a significant step in the efficient use of energy, water and sustainability in NSW. The BASIX energy targets were recently increased by 10 per cent, supporting NSW's transition to netzero emissions57. While BASIX will continue to make a major contribution to the efficiency and sustainability of Greater Sydney, the next step is to examine how entire precincts can be planned and designed with shared infrastructure to produce even greater efficiencies.
Advances in technology will increase opportunities to generate energy more sustainably, and to store, distribute and use energy more efficiently. Where other resource recovery options have been exhausted, organic waste has the potential to contribute to a sustainable generation of energy.
An integrated approach to water use, embracing opportunities for local energy generation and using waste as a local renewable energy source, supports a circular economy (refer to Figure 56). A circular economy reframes the traditional way of using resources so energy, water and waste are used efficiently and continually recycled and re-used.
These efficiencies, productivity benefits and cost savings can be realised at the local and precinct scale. Efficient and sustainable precincts such Rouse Hill, Barangaroo and Chippendale reduce pressure on existing energy, water, waste, wastewater and transport infrastructure and lower carbon emissions.
Other opportunities to achieve more efficient use of energy, water and waste are through sustainable utilities infrastructure in precincts. For example, Sydney Water carried out a trial at the Cronulla Wastewater Treatment Plant to convert organic waste from councils into energy to power waste treatment plants.
The WaterSmart Cities Program - outlined in the 2017 Metropolitan Water Plan - is investigating new ways to deliver more integrated water systems in a cost-effective and sustainable way.
Support precinct-based initiatives to increase renewable energy generation and energy and water efficiency especially in Planned Precincts and Growth Areas, Collaboration Areas and State Significant Precincts.