Victorian Desalination Plant fails to deliver full water order

AquaSure has fallen short on its first water delivery from the Victorian Desalination Plant in Melbourne, Australia, by four million metres cubed.

The plant, a joint venture by Degrémont, Macquarie Capital, and Thiess (now Ventia), was due to deliver 50 million cubes of desalinated water by 30 June 2017, but was hampered by damage to a switchgear during re-energisation of the plant in January.

Victoria minister for water Lisa Neville, speaking to Radio 3AW Melbourne, said that the authority would reduce the payment for water from $27 million to $25 million, and cut payments due under the contract. The annual payment for the plant is pegged at $604 million for 2016-17. Monies paid will be placed in trust in case AquaSure disputes the adjustments.

AquaSure said: “We are obviously disappointed that issues with the electricity supply meant that the plant was not able to start water production at an earlier date.”

The shortfall equates to about eight days of production. Since water production started in March 2017, the plant’s output has averaged 467,000 m3/d, or 105 per cent of its nominal capacity.

AquaSure said: “After being in preservation mode since completion of construction and commissioning in December 2012, and despite being unable to undertake preparatory work in the absence of the electricity supply prior to 3 March 2017, the plant was up and running within two weeks of the power supply being reconnected, and at full production (running all three streams) after only three weeks.”

The Victorian Desalination Plant will continue operating until end of September to fulfil a further water order, which was placed in May 2017 for the budget year 2017-18, of 15 million metres cubed. It will then return to standby mode.

Switchgear damage delays VDP re-energisation (January 2017)

Case study: Victorian Desalination Plant prepares to deliver first water order (October 2016)

‘We’re among the hardest hit by a drying climate,’ Sue Murphy, Water Corporation (October 2016)