Creating healthy local waterways: that's the future Sydney Water and our partners are bringing to life through Urban Plunge®. We want to create more swim spots and places for paddling, wading, boating, kayaking, canoeing, stand-up paddle boarding and fishing in the rivers, creeks, lakes and harbour inlets throughout Greater Sydney.
Everyone who lives in Greater Sydney should have easy access to clean natural local swimming spots.
Through the Urban Plunge vision, Sydney Water aims to help councils establish more swimmable sites in the rivers, creeks, lakes and harbour inlets of Greater Sydney's cities and suburbs – in areas previously considered unsuitable for swimming.
All potential locations are rigorously assessed to make sure they're suitable. Then we provide councils with reliably sourced data, monitoring, support and advice to help them establish new swim sites in their local area. Working together, we can make urban swimming a reality.
Clean waterways are at the heart of Sydney Water's vision of creating a better life with world-class water services. We know that people who enjoy our waterways will become champions for waterway health and protection. As new water-based recreation sites open, there will be greater incentive for government to invest in waterway protection.
Recent studies reinforce why Urban Plunge is an essential program:
We're not alone. There's an international push to reconnect swimmers with urban waterways. We're inspired by what other cities in Australia and around the world are doing to bring new life to communities through their urban waterways. Urban Plunge will encourage and broaden Sydney's cultural identity as a global lifestyle city.
Take a look at these
The Greater Sydney Water Strategy released in 2022 tasks Sydney Water to work with the Department of Planning and Environment, WaterNSW, NSW Health and the NSW Environment Protection Authority to support councils to identify and implement activities to increase recreational use of waterways, including swimming. The NSW Government Places to Swim program provides grant funding to support the opening of new swimming spots. It provides the perfect opportunity for Urban Plunge collaborators to establish swimming sites in their communities.
Making our waterways more swimmable takes time, commitment and collaboration, with the enthusiastic support of communities, councils and a broad range of other organisations.
The Parramatta River Catchment Group () is a representative body made up of 10 Parramatta River catchment councils, the Sydney Olympic Park Authority, NSW Health, NSW EPA, NSW Department of Planning and Environment. Sydney Water has worked with the PRCG since 2008.
The NSW Beachwatch program is a long-term collaborative partner. It provides advice and expertise in the development of our RiverWatch® monitoring and reporting program. Beachwatch has received received $18.5 million to expand its program and modernise and automate its approach. Our programs are closely aligned and complementary, and we look forward to continuing our collaboration.
UNSW has been working with us from the start. It has continually supported us with developing Urban Plunge through the creation of our RiverWatch model.
We need partners, technology, processes and investment to support local councils and government, to open or enhance swimming spots. Collaboration between government, the private sector and the community will make it easier and more cost-effective to deliver the bold Urban Plunge vision for Sydney, the Illawarra and the Blue Mountains.
Our logo was designed by Jason Douglas of. It represents the relationship of First Nations peoples to our lands and waterways:
"Water is our connection, our most important sustainable resource. Water brings everything to life. This artwork connects the fresh and saltwater people. The circles represent the meeting places mobs are spiritually connected to, where we swim, drink, fish, watch and cleanse. The wavy lines relate to the flow of water. Our environment depends on it and, as First Nations people have done for thousands of years, all of us now have a responsibility to look after and care for it."
Riverwatch, Urban Plunge and their respective logos are trademarks of Sydney Water.