Sydney Desalination Plant

Sydney Desalination Plant, NSW

The $1 billion Sydney Desalination Project was a design, build and operate contract, which included the provision to maintain the plant for 20 years. The contract was awarded to the integrated, unincorporated Joint Venture (JV) between Veolia Water Australia and John Holland. 

The JV was responsible for different sections of the design and construction scope, with Veolia Water Australia having 100% of the operations and maintenance scope.

The first desalination plant on the Australian east coast, it included: seawater reverse osmosis facility; pre and post-treatment plants; drinking water storage tanks; stormwater retention basins; a wastewater treatment and sludge management facility; intake pump station and screening plant; administration building; and underwater tunnels and outlet diffusers approximately 300m offshore in the Tasman Sea.

Our team proposed using a large, 20m deep box cut and downhill tunnel in place of the twin 60m deep shafts and uphill tunnel. This reduced cost and time and made the tunnel boring machine (TBM) erection and operation simpler and safer. The operator and Sydney Water were satisfied dewatering would take place offshore and that both tunnels could be dewatered simultaneously. The box cut allowed excavation to be combined with the intake pumping station, enabling mechanical installation of the intake pumping station to proceed in parallel with the tunnel construction, providing a significant time saving.

Key Awards:

  • Winner – 2011 Desalination Plant of the Year – Global Water Awards
  • Finalist – 2011 Australian Construction Achievement  Award, Australian Constructors Association and Engineers Australia
  • Project Management Excellence – 2010 Engineering Excellence Awards, Engineers Australia Sydney Division
  • Highly Commended – 2010 Engineering Excellence Awards for Infrastructure Projects, Engineers Australia Sydney Division
  • Winner – 2010 National Infrastructure Awards for Government Partnership Excellence Award, Infrastructure Partnerships Australia
  • Winner – 2010 National Civil / Infrastructure Award – National Excellence in Building + Construction Awards, Master Builders Australia
  • Winner – 2010 Excellence Awards, Civil Engineering, Master Builders Association - New South Wales, Australia
  • Winner – 2010 Excellence Awards, Resource Efficiency, Master Builders Association - New South Wales, Australia