25/03/2009 - 22:00

Ongoing water infrastructure costs of $1bn a year expected

25/03/2009 - 22:00

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THE drying climate and a growing population has resulted in Western Australia budgeting to spend an average of about $1 billion per year for the next five years on major water supply capital projects.

Ongoing water infrastructure costs of $1bn a year expected

THE drying climate and a growing population has resulted in Western Australia budgeting to spend an average of about $1 billion per year for the next five years on major water supply capital projects.

The spending will concentrate on new water sources, recycling of water and achieving water efficiency across all industries and sectors.

The biggest project is the Southern Seawater Desalination Plant, to be built at Binningup at a total cost of $955 million.

This follows development of the state's first seawater desalination plant at Kwinana, which is the first plant in Australia to provide desalinated water for large-scale public consumption.

The government has allocated $162.4 million to spend this year on the Binningup project, which is due to be completed by 2011.

The plant is expected to produce 50 gigalitres of water per year and may be expanded to 100GL a year.

The Water Corp had been targeting to complete the approvals process by November 2008 so that construction could commence in February this year, but is still waiting for final approvals to be granted.

The Southern SeaWater Alliance is the preferred consortia to build and operate plant. Spanish companies Tecnicas Reunidas and Valoriza Agua lead the alliance, with construction company AJ Lucas and engineering consultancy Worley Parsons its partners.

The contract will not be let for the alliance until the state and federal governments have granted all project approvals.

In October 2008, WA's Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) recommended approval for the proposal, provided there was satisfactory implementation of the recommended conditions.

In early February, the Environment Minister Donna Faragher announced the resolution of the environmental appeals process after adding some conditions.

The project is now in the final stages of the approvals process where the minister consults with other government agencies on the proposed conditions and how they may be implemented.

The Water Corporation's second big spending area is for wastewater management.

This financial year, $176.9 million will be spent on developing the Alkimos Wastewater treatment scheme, which has a total budget of $360 million.

The project is being undertaken by the Alkimos Water Alliance, where the Water Corporation is working in partnership with Brookfield Multiplex, Macmahon Contractors and Zublin.

The Alkimos plant will be the fourth major wastewater treatment facility for Perth, joining the Woodman Point, Beenyup and Subiaco wastewater treatment plants, which currently treat about 80 per cent of Perth's wastewater and are undergoing major upgrades.

The W2W Alliance is responsible for upgrading the Woodman Point, Beenyup and Subiaco plants by 2012.

The $352 million program of works covers the design, construction and commissioning of upgrades to increase capacity at the three metropolitan wastewater treatment plants, and to reduce odour emissions from the Woodman Point plant by 50 per cent.

The W2W Alliance comprises Black & Veatch, Thiess and Sinclair Knight Merz together with the Water Corporation.

This year, $33 million will be spent on the Beenyup Wastewater Treatment Plan, upgrading sludge treatment facilities. The $109.2 million project is expected to improve the quality of life of nearby communities. The project is planned for completion in 2010.

The Woodman Point Wastewater Management Plant will incur an expenditure of $28.9 million for upgrade of sludge treatment and odour control. This is part of the critical programs of Woodman Plant, which treats and disposes almost all wastewater from suburbs south of the Swan and Canning river systems.

The Kwinana wastewater treatment plan will require $20.6 million for its continuing upgrades while $43.5 million will be spent on a major water pipeline from Wungong Dam, a project that is estimated to cost $107 million in total.

 

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