Our Drinking Water Catchments

What is a Catchment?

A catchment is an area where water is collected by the natural landscape. In a catchment, all rain and run-off water eventually flows to a creek, river, dam, lake, ocean, or into a groundwater system.

The Lower Hunter has three types of catchments that collect our drinking water - rivers, dams and groundwater systems.

Why Protect Our Catchments?

Hunter Water is responsible for providing its half a million customers with safe, high quality drinking water. This responsibility begins with healthy drinking water catchments.

Human activities such as urban development, agriculture, septic systems and land clearing have the potential to impact the health of our catchments.

Caring for our rivers, dams and groundwater environments helps ensure healthy catchments and provides our community with:

  • clean drinking water
  • natural areas for recreation
  • habitat for plants and animals
  • healthy vegetation and waterways
  • reliable and clean water for stock and irrigation
  • opportunities for sustainable agriculture and industry

Development in a Drinking Water Catchment

Hunter Water participates in the planning and assessment process for development proposals that may impact on drinking water supplies within any of the drinking water catchments (known as 'Special Areas'). Please see the below Guidelines for Development in the Drinking Water Catchments if the property you intend to develop or subdivide is located in a drinking water catchment or if you think it might be.

Learn More About Our Catchments 


Our Dam Catchments

The Lower Hunter's largest drinking water supply is Grahamstown Dam, which is located close to the townships of Raymond Terrace and Medowie.

The Lower Hunter's second largest drinking water supply is Chichester Dam, located at the base of the Barrington Tops National Park World Heritage Area.


Our Groundwater Catchments

The Tomago Sandbeds catchment provides an important source of water and is used to supplement our dams and rivers during times of drought.

The Tomaree Sandbeds catchment is primarily covered by the Tomaree National Park and supplies the Tomaree Peninsula.


Our River Catchments

The Paterson and Allyn River Catchments begins in the pristine World Heritage Listed Barrington Tops National Park and the Chichester State Forest.

The Williams River Catchment is primarily agricultural land and rural townships, including the communities of Dungog and Clarence Town.