Australia wins bid to host 2011 IDA World Congress

Perth in western Australia is to be the next host city for the International Desalination Association’s World Congress on Desalination & Water Reuse in 2011. This is the first time the industry’s premier event has visited Australia.

A consortium led by the Australian Water Association (AWA) and Western Australia’s Water Corporation has been successful in securing this major international water event for Australia following a rigorous bidding process. Both organizations will be IDA’s Strategic Partners in planning and presenting the world congress.

Water Corporation has led the recent introduction of large-scale seawater desalination for public drinking water supplies in Australia. It already has the Perth Seawater Desalination Plant producing up to 130,000 m³/d, and, on 30 June 2009, signed the contract for the Southern Seawater Desalination Project, which will produce 137,000 m³/d when it is completed late in 2011, around the time of the congress.

Australia is also currently planning or building large desalination plants in Sydney, Melbourne and Adelaide, and has the 125,000 m³/d Gold Coast plant in Queensland up and running. Several large water reuse schemes are also under way, with the 232,000 m³/d Western Corridor Recycled Water Project already build in Queensland.

AWA is the leading organization representing water professionals in Australia and is widely recognized for its promotion of sustainable water management through collaboration, advocacy and professional development. It is an affiliate organization of the IDA.

More than 1,800 delegates from approximately 80 countries are expected to attend the World Congress in Perth over five days in November 2011. In addition to an extensive technical program, there will be a major exhibition showcasing the latest water desalination and recycling equipment and technology.

“The Water Corporation is a global leader in planning water supplies in response to climate change, and is an ideal partner for our 2011 Congress,” said Patricia Burke, secretary general of the IDA. “The Corporation has made big strides in the adoption of seawater desalination for Perth’s water supply as well as advanced technology to treat wastewater for recycling and poor quality groundwater sources in remote areas.”

Water Corporation CEO Sue Murphy said the World Congress would direct the global desalination industry’s attention to Western Australia and give the Corporation a huge opportunity to show the world how it was responding to climate change, which had already had a major impact in reducing the region’s rainfall.

“We began moving towards desalination at the beginning of this century – much earlier than expected – because our traditional surface water and groundwater sources were suffering badly,” Murphy said. We are also applying desalination technology in recycling of treated wastewater for industrial use and in a trial of groundwater replenishment that will involve recycling highly treated wastewater and that has the potential to produce huge volumes of drinking water in the future.”

Tom Mollenkopf, CEO of the Australian Water Association, stated, “To attract an event of this caliber represents international recognition of the Australian water sector’s capability and world leading practice. Perth offers leading practical examples and is home to the recently established Australian National Centre of Excellence in Desalination.”

IDA supports the development of technological solutions to lower the costs of desalination, reduce its energy needs and mitigate or eliminate environmental concerns. It holds World Congresses every two years, attended by scientists, engineers, members of the public sector and others involved in the desalination industry. This year’s World Congress is being held in Dubai, 7-12 November 2009. Its theme is “Desalination for a Better World.”