30 June 2022

Hunter Water celebrates 130 years of helping region prosper

For the past 130 years, Hunter Water has been at the heart of shaping the Lower Hunter region.

July marks the anniversary of the formation of the Hunter District Water Supply and Sewerage Board in 1892.

Since then, Hunter Water has played a vital role in the region’s growth, liveability and environmental sustainability by providing reliable access to safe, clean drinking water and sewerage services.

Hunter Water Managing Director, Darren Cleary, said he was proud of Hunter Water’s 130-year history.

“Reliable access to safe drinking water is something we all take for granted but, without it, the Hunter would not have been able to grow to the thriving region it is today.”
Darren Cleary, Managing Director

“There have been several key moments in our storied history, including the construction of the Walka Water Works and the Newcastle No 1 Reservoir in the late 1880s, the Chichester Dam and Trunk Main connecting Dungog to Newcastle and Maitland in the 1920s, and the construction of Grahamstown Dam in the 1960s and its later expansion in the early 2000s.


“Alongside investment in water, wastewater infrastructure investment has been critical for the health of our growing region, allowing local tourism to flourish and our beaches being consistently rated among the cleanest in the state,” said Mr Cleary.

In more recent times, Hunter Water has empowered the Lower Hunter community through its innovative Love Water campaign and worked together to reduce water usage by encouraging households and businesses to make smart water choices.

These initiatives saw the region’s household water consumption fall by 17 per cent over the last four years, showing that our community continues to embrace Love Water.

Girl bucket garden 001

Mr Cleary said the release of the Lower Hunter Water Security Plan represents a new chapter to ensure the region has a resilient, secure and sustainable water supply, now and for future generations.

“Our community’s needs are at the heart of our decision-making, and public feedback was crucial in developing the plan.

“While our history is worth celebrating, we’re now turning the page to focus on new, highly-treated recycled water schemes, a permanent desalination plant at Belmont, stormwater amenities, and increased investment in water conservation and leakage reduction,” said Mr Cleary.

Our history

The Hunter Water that exists today has had a long and rich history from its humble beginnings in the 1880s when water was first delivered to Newcastle from a temporary pumping station on the Hunter River at Oakhampton.