Mount Riverview resident Colin Nicholson was awarded the Public Service Medal in the Queen's birthday honours.
Mr Nicholson received the award for "outstanding public service to the quality of water and wastewater services across Sydney, the Blue Mountains and the Illawarra region".
Recently retired, Mr Nicholson made an extensive contribution to the water industry for more than 42 years, resulting in improvements to the quality of water and wastewater services across the state.
In the early 1990s he played an important role in the expansion and development of water filtration plants servicing Sydney's water supply. In 1998 he provided support to manage the Sydney water crisis where traces of cryptosporidium and giardia were detected in the water supply. He later played a key role in investigating the issue and developing and implementing measures to improve the water treatment process.
Mr Nicholson was also instrumental in the review of long-term lease arrangements and refinancing of the Sydney desalination plant in 2010. The refinancing project freed up more than $2.3 billion of funding and won the Infrastructure Partnerships Australia, National Infrastructure Award for Project of the Year.
"Mr Nicholson demonstrated outstanding leadership to influence the necessary changes to improve the performance of the Sydney water supply throughout his distinguished service to the community," his Queen's birthday honour citation states.