Sydney Water dumps effluent into Hawkesbury River to cut costs

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Sydney Water's plan to increase the effluent it releases into the Hawkesbury River flows on from the heavy financial pressures placed on the utility by the O'Farrell Government, Shadow Water Minister Luke Foley said today.

Sydney Water plans to increase the levels of phosphorus, nitrogen and ammonia it releases into the Hawkesbury River from its Brooklyn Sewerage Treatment Plant to save costs.

Sydney Water will reduce its operating costs from $1201 million to $1193 million next financial year. At the same time it is forecasting a massive 78 per cent boost to its profits.

Sydney Water profit before tax forecast:

  • 2011/12 - $387.8 million
  • 2012/13 - $693.3 million

Premier Barry O'Farrell personally signed off on these financial performance targets in the Sydney Water Statement of Corporate Intent, tabled in the NSW Parliament last month.

"The release of effluent into the Hawkesbury River to cut costs proves the O'Farrell Government views Sydney Water as just a cash cow," Mr Foley said.

"Sydney Water will increase the effluent it dumps into our waterways because the O'Farrell Government is putting pressure on the utility to cut costs.

"The Premier has already increased the dividend that Sydney Water must pay to the State Government to a record $245 million next financial year.

"The only way the Government can reap these profits is by increasing average household water bills by at least $861 and implementing cost cutting measures such as increasing the effluent it releases into our waterways.

"Sydney Water is hell bent on cutting costs and jacking up household water bills – at the expense of the fishing industry, our environment and 4.4 million Sydney Water users."