Our water saving projects

How we're saving water

Water is a precious resource that we can all help conserve. We've implemented a range of projects to use water more efficiently.

In our buildings and amenities blocks we've:

  • replaced fittings with water efficient ones
  • installed rainwater tanks.

In our gardens, reserves and fields we:

  • use bore water for irrigation at suitable sites
  • install low flow drip irrigation and smart irrigation systems into new landscaped areas
  • use local native plants and other drought tolerant species
  • mulch our garden beds
  • protect outdoor taps from inappropriate use
  • review irrigation needs for sports fields.

In our new infrastructure projects we:

  • incorporate water sensitive urban design elements.

Combined, these actions have reduced Council’s annual drinking water usage by over 79,000 kilolitres. This represents a saving of 70% and demonstrates our commitment to reducing water consumption.

Rainwater harvesting

colleagues tank

Rainwater harvesting involves collecting rainwater from roof tops, storing the water in tanks and using it for irrigation, watering gardens and flushing toilets.

Collecting and using rain water helps Council reduce its reliance on clean drinking water and helps reduce the impact of stormwater runoff on roads, parks and drainage infrastructure.

Woollahra Council has rainwater tanks installed at 20 Council sites with total rainwater capture and reuse capability at over 260,000L.

Rainwater tanks reduce water costs and stormwater runoff, and help improve the water quality of our local creeks and harbour.

Saving water at Holdsworth Community Centre


We installed rainwater tanks and waterless urinals at the Holdsworth Community Centre and a water wise organic garden at Holdsworth Communal Garden, saving 700,000 litres of water annually. This project received support through NSW Government's Climate Change Fund

Stormwater harvesting


Stormwater harvesting and reuse is the collection, treatment, storage and use of stormwater run-off from urban areas. It differs from rainwater harvesting as the run-off is collected from drains or creeks, rather than roofs.

We have stormwater harvesting projects in a range of locations to reduce our use of drinking water by using the recycled water to water public parks, gardens, and sports fields.

Stormwater harvesting also reduces stress on our local streams and creeks by capturing some of the pollutants and nutrients that would otherwise enter waterways from stormwater flows.

Harvesting stormwater at Parsley Bay

parsley bay stormwater

The Parsley Bay Stormwater Harvesting Project was designed and constructed i\to harvest and reuse stormwater from Parsley Bay Creek for irrigation of the grass at Parsley Bay.

Parsley Bay Creek receives water from the surrounding catchment through council’s stormwater network. The creek then flows into Sydney Harbour.

The Parsley Bay Stormwater Harvesting Project captures the stormwater before it enters the harbour and reuses approximately 1,200,000 litres of creek water per year to help irrigate the grass area at Parsley Bay.

Water is harvested from the creek and diverted into a well where it is screened for rubbish then pumped across the park. The water is then pre-treated using a filters and UV disinfection before being stored in a 30KL irrigation storage tank. Water is then available in the tank ready to irrigate the park as needed.

Treating stormwater at Rose Bay Promenade

rose bay promenade parking bay

State of the art water sensitive urban design technology was installed at Rose Bay Promenade in 2008. The technology features a porous paving infiltration system that treats polluted stormwater run-off collected from New South Head Road. The treated stormwater is then diverted to underground tanks capable of storing up to 200,000 litres.

The stormwater is cleaned of oils, hydrocarbons, sediment and other typical road runoff pollutants by a double treatment system. Stormwater passes through pavers and then the underlying layers of sand and basalt, ensuring high quality water. Most of the pollutants are captured in the fine structure at the top of the paver, which can then be swept clean in-situ to ensure the paver remains porous and effective in transporting treated water to storage tanks below.

Treated stormwater is then collected in underground tanks below each of the 11 parking bays. The storage tanks have a total capacity of 200,000 litres. The water will then be re-used for local irrigation and maintenance, including watering of the historic Hill's fig trees which line the promenade.

rose bay promenade cross section

Reporting leaks

Floodplain Management

Council's Floodplain Risk Management Committee is currently preparing comprehensive floodplain studies for the Rushcutters Bay, Double Bay, Rose Bay, Paddington and Watsons Bay catchments. Find out more about floodplain management.