Operational Information

The Desalination Plant has the operational flexibility to shutdown if water from the Desalination Plant is no longer required for Sydney’s water security needs.

Under the Concept Approval for the project, SDP is required to provide operational details about the plant on its website “including information on operating hours, volume of desalinated water produced and equivalent emissions of carbon dioxide associated with the operation”.

The following table provides operational information from May 2012 onwards.


Operating Hours 1

Volume of water delivered 
(ML) 2
Emissions from electricity 3
(tonnes CO2-e)
Emissions from operations 4
(tonnes CO2-e)
May 2012744.03,7271.1
June 2012719.53,9601.2
July 2012 5
October 2019 67448,3550.32
November 20197208,0750.53
December 20197448,1450.54
January 20206877,4072.06
February 20206967,4632.41
March 20206726,3983.02


  1. Refers to the hours that the plant was operating for treatment purposes.
  2. ML = megalitre = 1,000,000 litres
  3. Total carbon dioxide (CO2) equivalent emissions from electric power use 100% offset by renewable energy.
  4. Total carbon dioxide (CO2) equivalent emissions from the use on-site of other power sources such as diesel, petrol and gas.
  5. With the dam storage level reaching 90% capacity, the Minister directed the Sydney Desalination Plant to cease production on 1 July 2012.
  6. Dam storage levels fell below 60% on 27 January 2019 and the Sydney Desalination Plant commenced restart. The Sydney Desalination Plant started delivering water to the Sydney Water network in March 2019 and reached full capacity in August 2019. The 8 month restart period ended on 27 September 2019 after which the Plant is considered fully operational.