Where is Sydney's main water catchment area?
Sydney is the largest city in Australia, with over 4.6 million people and covering over 12,000 square kilometers. Because Sydney is settled in a Coastal Basin, it must get the majority of its fresh water from rivers and lakes inland. Any area where the landscape collects water without human intervention is called a Catchment; the Sydney Catchment Authority is the agency tasked with protecting, managing, and operating the various catchment areas around the city.
The SCA is a New South Wales government agency, and it operates the largest fresh water catchments. In managing the natural landscape, the SCA has built several dams which allow the natural water flow to collect into man-made lakes, thus ensuring a greater natural supply of water in times of need.
Collecting water from five rivers into a natural ravine, the Warragamba Dam creates Lake Burragorang in Australia, with about 9,051square kilometers of water storage. From the SCA website:
Lake Burragorang is the largest urban water supply in Australia, containing four times the volume of water of Sydney Harbour. It provides about 80 per cent of the water supply for nearly four million people in the Sydney region.
As well as supplying fresh water to three filtration plants, the Warragamba Dam contains a 50 megawatt hydroelectric power station, which operates only when the lake is at a high level.
Properly maintaining catchment areas is of vital importance to the well-being of Australian citizens. Without a reliable and healthy source of fresh water, living conditions would be worse and agriculture would suffer. As of 2006, Australia used 493 litres of water per person per day, the second highest water usage in the world. Fresh water is a vital resource and the SCA is dedicated to keeping Sydney's Water Catchment areas intact, productive, and secure.