Climate change action

Climate change presents significant challenges to the way we manage our water and wastewater infrastructure.

We need to be resilient to change and deliver solutions that can deal with future uncertainty so that we can continue to deliver safe and reliable water services to our communities.

Climate change is core business

Climate change is a change in the pattern of weather, and related changes in oceans, land surfaces and ice sheets, occurring over decades or longer. The Earth’s climate has changed rapidly over the last 100 years, and this is predicted to lead to more frequent and intense storms, longer periods of drought, higher average temperatures, greater risk of bushfire, rising sea levels and extended heat waves.

More than 90% of our customers support Hunter Water taking action now to address climate change.
Hunter Water Customer Willingness to Pay Survey, 2018

We know climate change presents a serious risk to our operations, our staff, our customers and our entire community. To achieve action on climate change and maintain affordable services for our customers, we have a target to be net zero by 2035.

We already have extensive experience managing climatic and weather-related extreme events. We’re committed to increasing our resilience to climate change by identifying and implementing adaptation measures to respond to future uncertainties.

We’re embedding climate change adaptation in our planning so that we can continue to provide reliable and affordable water and wastewater services into the future.

What we’re doing now

  1. Monitoring climate change risks
  2. Increasing our resilience and planning for future uncertainty through our dedicated water resilience program
  3. Improving energy efficiency by making operational changes
  4. Investing in renewable energy to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and enhance our resilience
  5. Developing and implementing sustainable wastewater practices
  6. Conserving water with our community through our Love Water campaign
  7. Diversifying our water sources through an integrated water management approach
  8. Collaborating with our industry partners to ensure our efforts are integrated for a targeted and well-coordinated regional response.
  9. Engaging with our customers and embedding their values and needs in our decision-making to guide climate change adaptation.

Case study: Generating renewable energy

Electricity is one of our major expenses, accounting for approximately 10% of our operating costs. We’re working to reduce our whole-of-life energy costs through the generation of onsite renewable energy.

Fossil fuel-based energy consumption represents 70% of our carbon footprint. We have been exploring low carbon energy solutions as part of developing our carbon strategy and understanding how we can achieve our carbon reduction target to be net zero by 2035.

We’re investigating the use of roof top and ground-mounted solar photovoltaic (PV) systems, which have been estimated to reduce whole-of-life energy costs and lower our carbon emissions.

Planning for the future

The Lower Hunter Water Security Plan was released by the NSW Government in April 2022, setting the region up for economic prosperity and underpinning growth, liveability and quality of life.