New South Wales authority Hunter Water is joining with local councils to future-proof regional water supplies.

During the most recent drought, Hunter Water says its joint efforts with councils generated significant water savings, with the councils reducing usage by a combined 15 per cent across sporting fields, parks, pools, and office premises.

Hunter Water Manager Sustainable Growth Water Resilience, Tony McClymont, said it took a united approach to prepare for times of constrained water resources.

“We know that Hunter Water cannot do it on our own and we need to engage with partners like councils.

“We have had a really good turnout [at the meetings] from all of the councils – they are all enthusiastic about getting involved and collaborating on integrated water management,” said Mr McClymont.

The authority says it has worked on drought response plans and looked at alternative supply options, including recycled irrigation.

It is also supporting Lower Hunter councils through early leak detection, education on smart water choices, and detailed water audits and benchmarking.

Maitland City Council Group Manager Culture, Community and Recreation, Judy Jaeger, said the partnership had a strong community focus.

“I think the most refreshing thing is we are actually not working as single agencies, we are talking to one another to look at what is the best outcome for our communities.”

Judy Jaeger, Maitland City Council Group Manager Culture, Community and Recreation

“For me, that is what it is all about,” she said.

Hunter Water Group Manager Revenue Water Conservation, Ardie Morris, said the group had showed leadership by forming the working group.

“We want this to be a regular thing, we want the councils to come together, and the unanimous response from the councils is they want that as well,” Mr Morris said.

“We are all in it together. I think Hunter Water is quite unique in that we can bring all of these councils together to look at how we can improve the liveability of our region.”