Adelaide size may be doubled as Acciona emerges in front

The consortium led by Spain’s Acciona Agua was announced as preferred bidder for the Adelaide desalination project on 19 February 2009, as Australian media reported that the capacity of the new plant was to be doubled from 150,000 m³/d to 300,000 m³/d.

Quoting South Australia premier, Mike Rann, The Advertiser stated that the government had applied for as much as Aus$ 400 million (US$ 259 million) to increase the capacity to a point where it could provide half of Adelaide’s water supply. A decision is expected in March or April.

The consortium AdelaideAqua was named as the preferred bidder for the new Aus$ 1.37 billion (US$ 886 million) desalination plant. Premier Rann and Karlene Maywald, minister for water security, made the announcement at the site, where they tasted the first glass of desalinated water from the recently completed pilot plant. For the past six months, the pilot plant has been testing reverse-osmosis and pretreatment technology.

The consortium comprises Acciona Agua, United Utilities, McConnell Dowell and Abigroup Contractors. Together they will design, build, operate and maintain the plant for 20 years, subject to major development approval.
AdelaideAqua’s bid includes:

  • A pretreatment process that will provide high levels of reliability, less energy use and reduced need for chemicals.
  • A highly efficient reverse-osmosis design that will mean more efficient use of the seawater extracted, significant energy savings and a smaller plant footprint.
  • An innovative diffuser for the saline concentrate that will ensure adequate mixing back into the marine environment and meet the specified environmental performance criteria
  • Maywald said that the consortium’s approach to marine and environmental works required for the project was crucial during negotiations. AdelaideAqua will now progress with the detailed design work and procurement of critical long lead items for the works to ensure first water can be delivered in December 2010.