Media Release: Newcastle Jockey Club, Hunter Water and City of Newcastle announce plans to investigate capturing stormwater for irrigation.

MEDIA RELEASE 21 March 2022

Newcastle Jockey Club, Hunter Water and City of Newcastle announce plans to investigate capturing stormwater for irrigation.

The sun was out and the birds were chirping on the morning of Wednesday the 16th of March when Newcastle Jockey Club’s CEO Duane Dowell, Hunter Water’s Managing Director Darren Cleary and the Lord Mayor, Nuatali Nelmes announced plans to investigate stormwater irrigation.

The three parties have signed a Memorandum of Understanding to commit to investigate the process, design and cost of capturing stormwater from a Hunter Water owned-channel, storing and treating the water and then its use to irrigate the Newcastle Racecourse and potentially three nearby City of Newcastle-owned sporting fields.

During rain events, stormwater found in a channel under Newcastle Racecourse could be captured and diverted into storage ponds, proposed to be located in the Racecourse infield. The stormwater would then be treated onsite to a standard for irrigating the grass tracks and for dust suppression.

Newcastle Jockey Clubs CEO, Duane Dowell illustrates some of the benefits this project could deliver.  “Newcastle Jockey Club is excited at the prospect of a sustainable, long-term water supply initiative to irrigate our tracks while also supporting the local community to help irrigate soccer field and cricket ovals”

In addition to irrigating the tracks, the MoU parties are looking to construct pipelines to nearby City of Newcastle-owned parks where there are existing automatic irrigation sprinkler systems. Such areas being investigated include Learmonth Park, Darling Street Oval and Adamstown No.1 Oval.

The Scheme could offset 55 million litres of drinking water per year used by Newcastle Jockey Club and the City of Newcastle combined, equating to the annual use of 365 households. The use of a local, sustainable water source as a result of this scheme would provide great benefits for the community with cooler, greener public open spaces and playing fields all year round.

Minister for Lands and Water, Hospitality and Racing, Kevin Anderson, remarks that “the work that will be possible through this MoU will include a top quality Racecourse and improved playing fields for football and soccer”

Hunter Water Managing Director, Darren Clearly, explained the MoU outlined the next steps the parties would take together to develop the scheme. “As a collaborative, the three parties will now work through the schemes design and potential funding streams”

The signing of the MoU is a key milestone for this project which extends over two years. If the project is assessed as viable, the parties will conduct extensive consultation and engagement with the clubs and users of the sporting fields, along with nearby residents and the general community. Duane Dowell notes what he is most looking forward to in this projects development: “For Newcastle Jockey Club, the community support is what we see as the really exciting aspect as we explore the scheme”


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For further details, or to arrange an interview contact

Duane Dowell M: 0432 925 588

For more information click here