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Sydney Desalination Plant wins global award

Sydney’s Desalination Plant has been named “Desalination Plant of the Year” at the 2011 Global Water Awards in Berlin.

Former UN Secretary General Kofi Annan was keynote speaker at the ceremony, which attracted key players in the global water market.

The detailed design and construction phase services for the Plant was carried out by the Bluewater Joint Venture (comprising John Holland and Veolia), with design services being provided by the Sinclair Knight Merz-AECOM joint venture acting under a design-build-operate-maintain contract with Sydney Water.

The Plant (pictured here) can supply up to 15 per cent of Sydney’s water needs, and its power needs are fully offset by renewable energy.

The Sydney plant is the largest operating sea water reverse osmosis desalination facility in Australia, and the third largest in the world. The judges noted that the $1.8 billion project came in $90 million under budget, on time and with a safety record that exceeded expectations.

Also commended were the facility’s energy requirements that are offset with 100% renewable energy from a 67-turbine wind farm. The plant also employs an extensive marine life monitoring programme. 

The four finalists in the award were: Chennai Minjur in India, Thames Gatesway in the UK (awarded a "Distinction"), Tianjin MED in China, and the Sydney desalination project.

Last year’s winner was the Barcelona-Llobregat desalination plant in Spain. The 200,000m3/d seawater reverse osmosis plant serves metropolitan Barcelona. The plant was designed and constructed within two years of the contract signing because of the severe draught in Spain in 2008.

The Global Water Summit is a two-day event that aims to create a large scale gathering of senior executives.

Over 70 speakers discussed themes such as:What are the world’s best performing utilities doing right? Can industrial and municipal water users work better together? What can we learn from the oil and gas sector? Does water footprinting work?

The event concluded with a debate on the motion: "Does subsidising water in poor countries work?"

The Summit focused on 30 countries – Australia was not one of them this year. But Ross Young, Max Borchardt and Dennis Gibson were listed on the agenda under “Alliances in Australian Water" for a networking round table.

[Trophy and Kofi Anand image above courtesy]

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