By working with the community and other agencies to manage stormwater effectively, we are improving the quality of water that ends up in Newcastle waterways and on our beaches.
Newcastle has a network of pipes, channels and waterways that move water from place to place:
- Water mains transport drinking water to our homes and businesses
- Sewer mains carry dirty water to sewage treatment plants
- Stormwater drains carry rainwater, running off our urban areas, into creeks, estuaries, wetlands, Hunter River and beaches
This journey of water, from being collected in our drinking water catchments and falling on our urban catchments and then returning to nature, is called the urban water cycle and stormwater is just one component of the cycle. Council's Urban Water Cycle Policy (PDF) provides the overarching vision and direction to the management of any aspect of the urban water cycle that Council is legally responsible for including stormwater.
So what is stormwater? Stormwater is rainwater that falls on the roof of your house, or collects on paved areas like driveways, roads and footpaths and is carried away through our drains, pipes and channels to our local creeks, wetlands, estuaries and finally to the ocean. 515 kilometres of pipes, 187km of culverts, 26,889 pits, 1,115 headwalls, 635 water quality devices, 67 kilometres of creek, 63 wetlands and 8 kilometres of river wall are under Council's care and control. Council is also responsible for managing the quality, quantity and frequency of stormwater discharge from an existing or proposed development (both public and private) including stormwater discharged from roads, buildings, open spaces and any other areas or types of development. This is done through Section 7.06 Stormwater of the Newcastle Development Control Plan 2012 and the Stormwater and Water Efficiency for Development Technical Manual. Concrete stormwater channels across the city and the sewerage system is owned and managed by Hunter Water.
Hunter Local Land Services also has a role in stormwater and catchment management in Newcastle and our Stormwater Management Plan (PDF) represent a commitment between the three agencies and the community to work in a cooperative manner whilst having regard to the principles of total catchment management.