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Planning our water future

Planning our water future

Planning our water future

It is important that we continue to plan for the Central Coast’s future water needs.

As the Central Coast grows, so does the demand for water. However, our current infrastructure can only supply us with a limited amount of water, so we need to address ways to grow our supply, to meet our future demand levels.

Central Coast Future Water Projections

We also must address uncertainties like climate variability and change, population growth and advances in technology, as well as more acute stresses such as drought.

There have been significant changes in environmental factors, water infrastructure, the operating environment and knowledge in the 13 years since we last planned for our region’s long-term water security. Those changes, combined with a steadily growing Central Coast community, and the current review of the Lower Hunter Water Security Plan by our neighbouring region, mean it is important to review our long-term water plans.

Together we’ll develop a plan that will secure the Coast’s water supply for future generations. This will be called the Central Coast Integrated Water Resource Plan. This will help our collaborative work with Hunter Water and the Department of Planning Industry and Environment to make sure both the Central Coast and Lower Hunter regions have water strategies that can work side by side.

Future water options

There are many things we need to consider to ensure there will be enough water for the Central Coast into the future.

Council is currently investigating and considering nine different water option types:

You can learn more about each of these options by checking out each factsheet above, or watching the below video. 

Working with our community

We are incorporating the views and values from a diversity of community voices to develop a long-term plan for water supply on the Central Coast.

Options survey

We ran an online survey to find out how the community feels about the different water supply and demand option types we are considering. This survey closed on 21 March 2021. 

A more in-depth survey will be available in the coming months - click here to be notified on when the survey is available. 

Virtual forums

A representative cross section of the community have been invited to attend a series of virtual forums, where participants will meet, learn and have discussions about the different options in a supportive environment. 

Forum participants were invited through an Expressions of Interest process and a third-party customer panel.

In-depth phone interviews were also conducted with people who find it difficult to participate in an online format.

Public exhibition

In late 2021 a draft of the Integrated Water Resource Plan will be published for final community feedback.

This plan will be the culmination of community engagement, liaison with key government agencies and industry, and expert technical studies and recommendations.

After public exhibition, the plan will be finalised and provided to the NSW Department of Industry and Environment for approval.

More information

Learn more about the Central Coast’s water supply system in this short video:


Can you keep the Coast supplied with drinking water through flood, fire, drought?

Quench the thirst of our growing population with the brand new Working with Water game.

It’s hours of Sim-city style fun as you battle to keep the water flowing despite natural disasters, equipment failures, busy tourist seasons, property booms and more.



Phase 3 forums

Who's listening

Who's listening
Charles Leung, Project Manager
Woolcott Research (forum inquiries only)

Frequently asked questions

Is Mangrove Creek Dam going to be expanded in the future?

Raising Mangrove Creek Dam is one of many shortlisted options being investigated under the Integrated Water Resource Plan. The plan seeks to review all feasible and effective options to address the Central Coast supply and demand balance.

Is Council going to build another dam?

Construction of a new dam is one of many shortlisted options being investigated under the plan. The plan seeks to review all feasible and effective options to address the Central Coast supply and demand balance.

Is Council still building a desalination plant at Toukley?

Council is seeking to modify the existing planning approval for the possible construction of a drought response desalination plant adjacent to Toukley Sewage Treatment Plant (STP).

This is our insurance policy in case of unprecedented drought conditions. In order to do this, Council will need to engage with the community and undertake a series of studies including intake location, water quality, marine monitoring, marine hazard, ecology impact assessment and updating EIS documentation.

It is anticipated this consultation process will take place in 2021.

Will the long-term options increase my water bill?

The Independent Pricing and Regulatory Tribunal (IPART) determines Central Coast Council’s water revenues and prices during periodic reviews. We will be consulting customers on water prices for the next review period in early 2021.

Sign up to be notified when when this consultation starts.

Any impact to customer prices would be determined by IPART if and when projects proceed. The 'whole of life cost' of various options will be assessed as part of the Integrated Water Resource Plan. This will ensure that the infrastructure required to provide drought security and meet long-term demand for water are cost effective.

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