draft Environment Strategy

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1 draft Environment Strategy

2 Our Commitment Our vision is to be the lifestream of Sydney for generations to come. We want to be world-class, delivering essential services that our customers love, in our great city. We have identified that caring for the environment is a core value in everything we do. Our Environment Strategy is aligned with what our customers and stakeholders have told us they want to see us do and shows how we will contribute to the future direction of our cities. Sydney Water acknowledges the Aboriginal peoples of the places we now call Sydney, Blue Mountains and Illawarra as the traditional custodians of the land and water on which we rely. We are committed to maintaining a high standard of environmental care, reducing adverse impacts from our operations to protect the environment and fulfilling our compliance obligations. We aspire to continually improve our environmental performance in ways that are commercially responsible and valued by our customers. We will continue to balance environmental considerations with social and economic objectives. We are working towards a sustainable future, in accordance with our principle objectives outlined in the Sydney Water Act Our Environment Strategy will help us build on our past achievements and continue to improve our environmental performance through innovative approaches. It will help us meet our Lifestream Strategy and Corporate Plan and strengthen our resilience to future challenges as our cities grow. Kevin Young Managing Director We have developed an Environment Strategy to help deliver our vision to be the lifestream of Sydney for generations to come. Our mission is to be a world-class organisation, delivering essential water services our customers love, in our great city. 1

3 Responding to customer needs Caring for Sydney s waterways and environment is very important to all of us and is a core part of our history. We know our customers want us to: keep the environment a top priority in how we deliver products and services. play our role in tackling the big issues for a better tomorrow work with them to save water and protect the environment. Our Environment Strategy defines what we want to achieve now and in the future and how we will do this to: help us deliver and shape environmental decisions that meet our customers needs provide our services in a way that cares for Sydney s waterways and beaches as well as the land we manage work collaboratively to ensure resilient water services as our cities grow empower our people with the information they need to incorporate environmental objectives into the planning and operations of our services guide the actions developed for our Environment Plan meet our Operating Licence obligations help demonstrate our environmental outcomes to our customers and community continually improve our environmental performance and outperform where customers expect us to while remaining commercially responsible. Our approach draws from global frameworks, such as the UN Sustainable Development Goals. 2 Key benefits for our customers will be to: continue to protect and enhance natural waterways and ecosystems efficiently use and recover resources such as energy and water ensure our cities are sustainable and resilient to prepare for the future educate and contribute to liveability for our communities

4 Environmental targets Environmental Objectives Environment Goal Lifestream Overview of our environment strategy We will be world class delivering essential water that our customers love in our great city. We aspire to provide water services for our city that sustain and enhance the lifestyle of our customers now and in the future, increasing our standing in the community as a trusted environmental steward by HEALTHY WATERWAYS & CLEAN BEACHES 2. COMMUNITY AMENITY & CITY SHAPING 3. CARE FOR NATURE, LAND & HERITAGE 4. RESOURCE USE AND CLIMATE RESILIENCE We ll contribute to healthy waterways and clean beaches in delivering our services to safeguard ecosystems that our communities can continue to enjoy. We ll work with customers to save water, improve urban environments and shape future liveable cities. We ll maintain and restore valuable biodiversity and share the natural spaces, land and heritage in our care with the community. We ll use our resources wisely, increase our recovery of energy and adapt to improve our resilience to a changing climate. By 2020 we will: 1.1 See our work contribute to designated swimming sites rated as good or very good 1.2 Enhance integrated water planning by contributing to the WaterSmart Cities program 1.3 Identify sustainable wastewater discharge loads for all key waterways By 2020 we will: 2.1 Increase our customer satisfaction score (positive environmental responses) 2.2 Work with customers to manage water use consistent with the economic level of water conservation 2.3 Progress water sensitive city outcomes where we have a role By 2020 we will: 3.1 Achieve net gain in area of native vegetation restored 3.2 Manage our land contamination and hazardous building materials to achieve zero significant risk of harm By 2020 we will: 4.1 Maintain grid electricity purchases at the 1998 level until Assess 100% of our climate risk interdependencies 4.3 Maintain 100% beneficial use of biosolids By 2030 we aspire to: 1.4 Improve long term trends in net impact of wastewater discharges, as measured through monitoring program indicators 1.5 Achieve 100% of treated wastewater compliant with our environment protection licences 1.6 See our work contribute to increased length of waterways meeting community use and environmental objectives By 2030 we aspire to: 2.4 Deliver all agreed programs to connect green open spaces and watercourses through the Green and Blue Grids 2.5 Engage with customers to understand their values, including environmental, and incorporate these into our regulatory submissions 2.6 Obtain sustainability benchmark ratings for all major infrastructure projects By 2030 we aspire to: 3.3 Realise increased value from conservation of our natural capital and heritage in our care 3.4 Increase the availability of our land for agreed community use year on year By 2030 we aspire to: 4.4 Be a net generator of renewable energy at 4 or more sites 4.5 Reduce our net carbon emissions to contribute to NSW achieving net-zero emissions by Be a benchmark leader for climate readiness and service continuity 4.7 Reduce our ecological footprint per customer year on year 3

5 1. Healthy waterways and clean beaches Key insights on what s emerging in the future Beaches and waterways are an important part of greater Sydney s lifestyle and we have played a significant role in contributing to waterway health over past decades. We manage wastewater and stormwater networks that protect the rivers and beaches that are central to our city s iconic, outdoor way of life. As Sydney grows, our role in servicing new customers offers the opportunity to provide water services in new and better ways. We ll need to invest in infrastructure for the future and apply innovative approaches to manage treated wastewater discharges, overflows and stormwater to sustain the health and recreational amenity of our natural water resources. Future climate change and natural hazards will present challenges in providing reliable services that protect waterways and customers. Ecosystems may become vulnerable to a changing climate and emerging contaminants of concern. We can leverage our leading scientific research and technological innovation to inform policy and regulatory directions for our cities. Sustaining the health of our waterways will require a whole of catchment approach and better collaboration with councils, planning agencies and other stakeholders. 4

6 1. Healthy waterways and clean beaches Our objective: We ll contribute to healthy waterways and clean beaches in delivering our services to safeguard ecosystems that our communities can continue to enjoy. Our priority outcomes are to: Balance the needs for healthy rivers and a growing city Collaborate to clean up waterways Reduce environmental impacts of our discharges Use leading edge science, research and innovation to benefit waterways Incorporate environmental safeguards more effectively to reduce risks Prioritise waterway improvements with regulators Integrate water services with city planning Reliably meet environmental obligations Identify and prepare for emerging contaminants of concern Our targets By 2020 we will: 1.1 See our work contribute to designated swimming sites rated as good or very good 1.2 Enhance integrated water planning by contributing to the WaterSmart Cities program* 1.3 Identify sustainable wastewater discharge loads for all key waterways By 2030 we aspire to: 1.4 Improve long term trends in net impact of wastewater discharges, as measured through monitoring program indicators** 1.5 Achieve 100% of treated wastewater compliant with our environment protection licences 1.6 See our work contribute to increased length of waterways meeting community use and environmental objectives 5 *WaterSmart Cities program detailed in 2017 Metropolitan Water Plan, Metropolitan Water Directorate **Key indicators in Sydney Water s Sewage Treatment System Impact Monitoring Program

7 2. Community amenity and city shaping Key insights on what s emerging in the future: Local urban amenity underpins Sydney s lifestyle and international attractiveness. Increasing urban density will create competing demand for limited open space and impact communities through odour, noise or visual amenity. Climate change and urbanisation could increase the exposure of communities to urban heat and the vulnerability of parks and sports fields to drought. As new infrastructure rapidly reshapes the city, we ll have the opportunity to better integrate water in the urban landscape to create more vibrant and liveable places. Water can help green our streets, provide cooling and connect communities. Litter and plastic debris from products used by our community can impact waterways and our services. Together we can build a more informed community to choose tap water and keep wipes out of pipes. We need to know what customers value so we can deliver the services they want at an affordable price. Recent studies show the community value clean and safe water for drinking and swimming and the efficient use of water to avoid waste. In the future we can explore customers support for additional benefits that enhance their environment and liveability, not simply avoid harm. A water sensitive approach to urban water planning and management is emerging as global best practice. 6

8 2. Community amenity and city shaping Our objective: We ll work with customers to save water, improve urban environments and shape future liveable cities. Our priority outcomes are to: Incorporate customers environmental values into our decisions Invest in economically efficient water conservation Build sustainable water behaviours through our education programs Collaborate to enable water sensitive cities of the future Contribute to improved local amenity and safety Enhance liveability through use of water to help connect, cool and green our cities Deliver multiple benefits from flood management of our assets Our targets By 2020 we will: 2.1 Increase our customer satisfaction score (positive environmental responses) 2.2 Work with customers to manage water use consistent with the economic level of water conservation* 2.3 Progress water sensitive city outcomes where we have a role By 2030 we aspire to: 2.4 Deliver all agreed programs to connect green open spaces and watercourses through the Green and Blue Grids** 2.5 Engage with customers to understand their values, including environmental, and incorporate these into our regulatory submissions 2.6 Obtain sustainability benchmark ratings for all major infrastructure projects * ELWC detailed in 2017 Metropolitan Water Plan, Metropolitan Water Directorate 7 ** Green and Blue Grids detailed in the Draft District Plans, 2016, Greater Sydney Commission

9 3. Care for nature, land and heritage Key insights on what s emerging in the future: Greater Sydney has a long history of Aboriginal use of land and waterways. We respect the connection and ongoing contribution of Aboriginal peoples to Country. The city s unique natural areas and cultural heritage provide our sense of place as well as ecosystem services. As a key environmental steward of our city s history, natural resources and global brand, we have a role to increase awareness, conserve and share land in our care for community benefit. Significant urban growth over the next few decades will increase pressures on remaining natural areas. At the same time it presents opportunities to restore and reveal waterways and landscapes valued by the community. We will be expected to continue to protect public health and the environment by dealing with legacy land contamination issues and responsibly managing biodiversity and cultural heritage in our care. In the long term we will work with others on innovative approaches to enhance the value of our natural capital and avoid or offset impacts from our infrastructure. 8

10 3. Care for nature, land and heritage Our objective: We ll maintain and restore valuable biodiversity and share the natural spaces, land and heritage in our care with the community. Our priority outcomes are to: Reveal and restore natural landscapes Conserve natural environments and cultural heritage in our care Share land and heritage in our care with the community Responsibly manage land contamination and hazardous building materials Look to create value from our natural capital to help maintain ecosystems Identify opportunities for green infrastructure and offsets to incorporate environmental benefits Include learnings from Aboriginal knowledge of Country in our programs Support our people to live our environmental values every day Our targets By 2020 we will: 3.1 Achieve net gain in area of native vegetation restored 3.2 Manage our land contamination and hazardous building materials to achieve zero significant risk of harm By 2030 we aspire to: 3.3 Realise increased value from conservation of natural capital and heritage in our care 3.4 Increase the availability of our land for agreed community use year on year 9

11 4. Resource use and climate resilience Key insights on what s emerging in the future: As our climate continues to change, we need to better understand what this means for the volatility and uncertainty of local conditions and play our part to mitigate impacts. We are a leader in adapting for climate change, and have been working hard to reduce our carbon footprint and use renewable energy sources. A secure and sustainable supply of water is essential for our cities to grow and prosper. Greater Sydney s water supply system is resilient and sufficient to meet demands in the medium term. We need to plan and develop innovative water solutions that address, in a holistic way, the water needs of our new and expanding communities. Our infrastructure is exposed to natural hazards and the effects of future climate change. With the likelihood of more bushfires, storms, heatwave and flood events, we must adapt to ensure continuity of water services to our cities. We will need to explore smarter, affordable ways of building resilience into our infrastructure. The global transition to renewable energy will inform our future energy efficiency, new energy technologies, generation and reuse of our own renewable energy. Our State is aspiring to reduce carbon emissions to net zero by In our growing city, local water, waste management and resource recovery could increasingly contribute as we transition to a more circular economy. Our supply chain and delivery partnerships are critical to successfully reduce full life cycle costs and environmental impacts. 10

12 4. Resource use and climate resilience Our objective: We ll use our resources wisely, increase our recovery of energy and adapt to improve the climate resilience of our services. Our priority outcomes are to: Remain carbon-stable to 2020 and review our future emissions reduction pathway Deliver low carbon and energy efficient infrastructure and services Enhance our resilience to ensure continuity of services in a changing and variable climate Beneficially recover and re-use resources to reduce waste to landfill Work with suppliers towards a smaller ecological footprint Harness research and innovation to increase our use of renewable energy Contribute to future sustainable and resilient water supplies Collaborate on climate adaptation to create shared solutions for our communities Explore the customer value of circular resource recovery to better understand future opportunities Our targets By 2020 we will: 4.1 Maintain grid electricity purchases at the 1998 level until Assess 100% of our climate risk interdependencies 4.3 Maintain 100% beneficial use of biosolids By 2030 we aspire to: 4.4 Be a net generator of renewable energy at 4 or more sites 4.5 Reduce our net carbon emissions to contribute to NSW achieving net-zero emissions by 2050* 4.6 Be a benchmark leader for climate readiness and service continuity 4.7 Reduce our ecological footprint per customer year on year 11 * Objective identified in NSW Climate Change Policy Framework, 2016, Office of Environment and Heritage

13 Customer at the heart High performance culture World class performance Environment strategy contribution to lifestream.. Balance Find the right balance to fund environmental improvements and meet the expectations of customers Collaborate Work with others to shape positive environmental changes for customers and the city Transparent Communicate openly on our environmental performance Engage Involve communities in the decisions that will impact their neighbourhoods Manage risks Be environmentally responsible and continually improve Lead Play our role in tackling the big issues for the sustainability and resilience of our cities Influence Work with regulators towards outcomes based regulation Capability Develop the environmental capabilities of our people Innovate Harness best available evidence and technology Values Understand our customers needs and values and consider future generations Plan Embed adaptive planning approaches to better prepare for future uncertainties Forward thinking Respond to emerging environmental trends and challenges to future-proof our cities 12

14 Implementing our environment strategy Environmental Management System (EMS): We will implement this strategy under the framework of our ISO14001 certified EMS. The core of an EMS is the continual cycle of planning, implementing, evaluating and improving processes to enhance environmental performance. Environmental Policy: Our Environmental Policy provides our commitment to continual improvement and the principles of ecologically sustainable development. Environment Plan: Our Environment Plan provides the roadmap for our strategy. We will map out our planned actions annually to work towards the environmental objectives and outcomes of our strategy. Each year, we will track the progress we make towards our environmental objectives to help us understand where to focus our efforts. Review and improve: We will review our Environment Strategy and Plan annually as part of our corporate planning framework to ensure we continually improve environmental performance and align with our long term strategies for water, wastewater and stormwater. Hierarchy for implementing our environmental objectives and priorities Influence sustainable and resilient future cities Look for opportunities to restore environmental value Avoid environmental impacts Use resources efficiently and reduce impacts at source Use renewables, recycle or recover resources Treat or offset impacts Dispose of waste 14

15 Measuring and reporting our progress Environment indicators and reporting: Each year, we will report publicly on the progress we make towards our environmental objectives. To provide a year-to-year comparison of performance, we report publicly against a set of key environmental performance indicators selected by the Independent Pricing and Regulatory Tribunal (IPART) and benchmarked through the National Water Initiative (NWI), in our Environment Compliance and Performance Report. We provide a summary against these and other voluntary indicators in our balanced sustainability scorecard in our Annual Report. New measures and benchmarks: For some targets we will need to develop new indicators to measure our progress. We will also explore more quantitative measures and targets that better drive our environmental performance and improve our readiness for the future. We will continue to seek feedback from our customers and stakeholders as well as learn from the latest research. 15

16 Contact us We all want a resilient, sustainable future for Sydney, the Blue Mountains and Illawarra. This is our starting point. We will keep engaging, listening and learning so we can build on our strategy and continually improve our environmental performance. Together we can enhance the environmental sustainability of our cities and readiness for future challenges. By post Corporate Strategy Sydney Water PO Box 399 PARRAMATTA NSW 2124 On the web sydneywater.com.au facebook.com/sydneywater twitter.com/sydneywaternews By For Environment Strategy enquiries: For general enquiries: 16 SW228 05/17 Sydney Water. All rights reserved.

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