What do I do if my session expires before I've completed the survey?

    Some internet browsers, such as Internet Explorer, have settings that are incompatible with the survey platform, and don't enable completion of the survey. If this happens, please try opening the survey in a different browser. If you continue to have problems and would like a copy of the survey emailed to you, please send a request to yourvoice@hunterwater.com.au.

    Where do we get our drinking water?

    We extract water from dams and groundwater aquifers (sandbeds) for use as drinking water. 

    Water for the lower Hunter Region is extracted from:

    • Grahamstown Dam;
    • Chichester Dam;
    • Tomago and Tomaree Sandbeds (groundwater);
    • The Paterson River; and 
    • The Allyn River
    The water in these dams and aquifers comes from rain that runs off a large area of land that is called a drinking water catchment. The water is treated before being added to the public water supply. 

    Grahamstown Dam is an off-river storage dam. Water is extracted from the Williams River at the Seaham Weir Pool, and is pumped into the dam. Grahamstown Dam provides drinking water for Newcastle and Lake Macquarie, as well as parts of Port Stephens such as Medowie, Raymond Terrace, and Fullerton Cove.

    Chichester Dam receives water from the Chichester and Wangat Rivers, and primarily provides water for the areas around Dungog, Clarence Town, Paterson, Vacy and Seaham, as well as the Coalfields around Cessnock.

    The Tomaree Sandbeds supply much of the water for the Tomaree Peninsula (including Anna Bay, Nelson Bay, Fingal Bay, Salamander Bay etc.), while the Tomago Sandbeds play an important strategic function as a drought reserve, with water from the eastern end of the sandbeds supplying water for Lemon Tree Passage.

    Water from the Paterson and Allyn Rivers is supplied to Gresford.

    Public access to dams and catchments

    To protect drinking water quality, public access is not permitted on either Grahamstown or Chichester dams. 

    Access is also restricted into the catchments of both dams as well as the Tomago and Tomaree Sandbeds. Learn more about public access to our dams and catchments. 

    Why is the research being done?

    The purpose of the research is to understand how the community of the lower Hunter Region views protection of the drinking water catchments, specifically in relation to recreational activities in and around water sources and storages, and what factors affect those views. 

    The study will also be used to determine how much general community support there is for existing catchment protection policy and what, if any, changes to policy would be acceptable to the community.

    Who can participate in the research?

    We are seeking people aged 18 years and over who live in the lower Hunter Region of NSW to participate in this research.

    How is the project being funded

    The project has been funded by Hunter Water through a scholarship for the PhD Candidate. Please note that student is a contract employee at Hunter Water, and that the research is being undertaken as part of her studies and not as part of her employment.

    What would you be asked to do?

    If you agree to participate, you will be asked to complete a short online questionnaire. Questions will ask about your attitudes to different types of recreational activities and other issues that may affect your attitudes, as well as details about you. There are no other commitments associated with participation.

    What choice do you have?

    Participation in this research is entirely your choice. Only those people who give their informed consent and complete the questionnaire will be included in the project. Please note that you may exit the questionnaire at any time.

    How much time will it take?

    We estimate the questionnaire will take around 15 minutes to complete. You will only need to complete the survey once.

    How will the collected information be used?

    The information collected will be presented in a dissertation to be submitted for Ms Marlin’s PhD degree, and data summaries may be presented in papers published in scientific journals and/or in conference presentations. Summary data will also be provided to Hunter Water. Individual participants will not be identified in any reports arising from the project. Non-identifiable data may be also be shared with other parties to encourage scientific scrutiny, and to contribute to further research and public knowledge, or as required by law.

    If you would like a copy of the study summary, please email Associate Professor Graham Brewer (graham.brewer@newcastle.edu.au) or visit Hunter Water’s website (https://yourvoice.hunterwater.com.au/) after May 2021.

    What are the risks and benefits of participating?

    What are the risks and benefits of participating?
    Your participation in the study may benefit the lower Hunter Region by providing feedback on your attitudes to recreation in the areas where your drinking water is taken from. The information gained may be used by Hunter Water to review or revise catchment protection policies and operational procedures, or to develop future educational campaigns.

    If you choose to participate in the study, you will be given the option to go into a draw to win one of two iPad minis or one of five $50 eftpos gift vouchers after you have submitted your questionnaire. To do so, you will need to provide details of how we can contact you. Please note these contact details would not be linked to your questionnaire responses in any way.

    How will your privacy be protected?

    The questionnaire is anonymous, and it will not be possible to identify you from your answers. The questionnaire is hosted on the Lime Survey website via a secure encrypted connection, and the software will not record your location. Data will be stored for at least five years on the University of Newcastle’s secure server.

    Further questions?

    The research supervisor, Associate Professor Graham Brewer, should be contacted for any further enquiries. He can be contacted via email - graham.brewer@newcastle.edu.au - or by phone (4921 5794).