Sydney’s Looming Water Crisis

Warragamba Dam Nearly Empty
January 2020 Warragamba Dam at Dangerously Low Levels.

Sydney is running out of water

Sydney recently experienced a water emergency. In January of 2020 Sydney’s Dam storage catchment levels fell to less than 42% or 1,090 gigalitres. Sydney’s thirsty 5.3 million inhabitants, who consume 566 gigalitres of water per year, were dangerously close to running out of water, with less than 2 years supply left. This was the lowest water level since 2004 when levels dropped to 38%.


Since 2004 Sydney has an extra 1,050,000 people drawing an additional 113 gigalitres per year from the catchment. The NSW government has no plans to complete the Welcome Reef Dam. With population growth and droughts a certainty, it is only a matter of time before Sydney runs out of water.