New South Wales premier switches on Sydney desalination plant

Sydney’s seawater reverse-osmosis desalination plant was switched on by New South Wales premier Kristina Keneally on 28 January 2008, providing water to meet up to 15% of Sydney’s water needs.

The plant is currently producing only 55,000 m³/d, which will be gradually increased to its 250,000 m³/d capacity.

“Sydney’s desalination plant is on time and more than Aus$ 60 million (US$ 53 million) under budget,” Ms Keneally said.”This world-class facility is part of our plan to secure a constant water supply for Sydney’s future and will be 100% offset by renewable energy.”

Water from the desalination plant will be distributed to 1.5 million people as part or all of their water supply across the Sydney business district, inner west, eastern suburbs, southern Sydney, parts of the Sutherland shire, and at times as far west as Auburn.

The plant is 100% offset by wind energy, and a new wind farm with 67 turbines is now up and running at Bungendore.

Keneally also said, “We have some of the largest recycled water projects in Australia under construction or online across greater Sydney, and we are on track toward the Metropolitan Water Plan target of producing 70 billion litres a year by 2015. By 2015 we will be recycling up to 12% of Sydney’s water needs.”

Water-efficient devices such as taps, showerheads and washing machines, and Water Wise Rules will help save up to 24% of the city’s water.

The Blue Water Joint Venture, comprising John Holland and Veolia Water Australia, built the desalination plant.

The 18 km desalination pipeline, some of it beneath Botany Bay, was built by the Water Delivery Alliance, comprising Bovis Lend Lease, McConnell Dowell, Worley Parsons, Kellogg Brown & Root, Environmental Resources Management and Sydney Water.