Adelaide plant delayed by four months

The Adelaide desalination plant is four months behind schedule, South Australia’s minister for water, Paul Caica, announced on 28 August 2010.

The first water from the plant, which will eventually reach a capacity of 300,000 m³/d, is expected to be produced in April 2011.

“While this date is four months later than our original target for first water, the construction program has been affected by the tragic fatality which occurred on site last month,” the minister said. “While the investigation into the fatality continues, SA Water and the contractor remain conscious of the need to continue to maintain the highest safety standards.

Following the incident, restrictions were imposed on site by the consortium SafeWork SA, led by Spain’s Acciona Agua, to allow it to undertake early investigations. These have now been released and most construction work has restarted.

“The recent rain and wind in Adelaide has also impacted on the delay,” said Caica. “Initial advice from SA Water is that the delay in first water is unlikely to have an impact on the overall cost of the project.”

Caica announced that solid inflows into the Adelaide Hills catchments this winter had ensured that Adelaide’s water security was now in a much better position than it was in 2008 when the decision was made to bring the completion date of the desalination plant forward.

“The desalination plant has always been our insurance policy to protect Adelaide’s water security against dry years such as 2006-07, when we received less than 35 billion litres in natural inflows for the entire 12 months,” the minister said.

He announced the following day that water restrictions would be lifted on 1 December.