Second Perth desalination plant starts in three weeks

Less than a week after getting federal government clearance, the contract for the Southern Seawater Desalination Plant was signed on 30 June 2009.

Western Australia’s water minister, Graham Jacobs, confirmed that work on the Aus$ 955 million (US$ 773 million) project outside Binningup would begin within three weeks, following the signing of contracts between the Water Corporation and the Spanish-led consortium Southern SeaWater Alliance.

The Water Corporation has a role within the alliance to ensure that the delivery of the facility meets the long-term needs for Western Australia’s sustainable water future. The consortium is led by Tecnicas Reunidas and Valoriza Agua with Australian companies A J Lucas and Worley Parsons

Dr Jacobs said that the 2011 commissioning of the 137,000 m³/d plant would not come a moment too soon to cater for the challenging immediate water situation, Western Australia’s ongoing growth and the corporation’s ambition to reduce abstraction from the Gnangara groundwater system.

“Events of the past month, culminating in a decision to impose a trial winter sprinkler ban underline the challenge we continue to face in meeting our water needs into the future,” he said.

Work on a water pipeline to Harvey, linking the plant to the Integrated Scheme and other components of the project, would also start soon, said Dr Jacobs.
The minister reiterated that renewable energy would be used to power the new facility: “The Water Corporation intends to purchase all the energy requirements and associated renewable energy certificates for the Southern Seawater Desalination Plant from renewable energy generators,” he said.

“Most will come from generators using proven renewable energy technologies. The corporation is also hoping to have a portion of the energy requirements purchased from renewable energy generators using technologies not yet commercially proven at this stage.”

The minister said announcements on the energy providers would be made later this year.