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Adelaide Desalination Plant

The plant was built in two phases, reaching a 300 MLD capacity. Delivery of full capacity by end of 2012.

The Adelaide Desalination Plant has been operating continuously since completion and has delivered more than 30 GL of desalinated drinking water into the SA Water supply network (current as of end-February 2013). This is a very large asset for South Australia and provides 50% of Adelaide's drinking water needs from a climate-independent source. 

Having this asset completed, operational and delivered on-time, has eliminated water restrictions in South Australia and improved the diversity and reliability of water supplies to business and communities in South Australia.

For more information:
Adelaide Desalination Projec

General information

SA Water Corporation
Type of contract
Design, Build, Operate and Maintain (DBOM)
Contract award
February 2009
Port Stanvac, south of metropolitan Adelaide
Reverse Osmosis Seawater Desalination
Maximun capacity
100 gigalitres per year. The state-of-the-art plant has the capacity to deliver up to 300 million litres of water each day (100 billion litres a year), about half of Adelaide's current water needs.
Project term
Construction plus 20 years operation
Construction schedule
Completed and delivered on 12/12/12 (On-time and within original budget)
Capital cost
AU$1.83 billion
AdelaideAqua D&C Consortium comprising McConnell Dowell Constructors, Abigroup Contractors and ACCIONA Agua, is responsible for the construction of the plant
AdelaideAqua Pty Ltd, a company owned equally by ACCIONA Agua and Trility Pty Ltd will jointly operate and maintain the facility for 20 years


The technology used in ACCIONA Agua’s design makes this desalination plant a global benchmark. This design brings a number of important benefits, such as:

  • An advanced pre-treatment process that provides high levels of reliability, less energy use and a reduced need for chemicals.
  • A highly efficient reverse osmosis design which will enable more efficient use of extracted seawater, significant energy savings and a smaller plant footprint.
  • An innovative diffuser design for the saline concentrate that will ensure adequate mixing back into the marine environment and ensure environmental performance criteria.


  • Global Water Intelligence (GWI) - Desalination Plant of the Year 2013 - Distinction;
  • Civil Contractor's Federaion (CCF) - South Australia Award 2012 for Excellence in Civil Construction;
  • Australian Water Association (AWA) - South Australia Infrastructure Innovation Award 2012;
  • National Electrical and Communications Association (NECA) - South Australian and National Excellence Award 2012 for large Industrial projects;
  • Master Builders Association - SA Branch, Excellence in Services 2012.

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