As part of the State's Water for Good plan to secure water for the future, the Government has built a seawater desalination plant at Lonsdale, south of Adelaide. This project will ensure drinking water is available even in times of drought.
The plant, which has been finished on time and within its budget of $1.83 billion, can deliver up to 100 billion litres of water each year (100GL) - about half of Adelaide's annual water supply.
SA Water uses water from a range of different sources to supply our customers. Managing these water sources is a careful balancing act to ensure we are using the water available to us in the most efficient way.
On 4th October 2012, SA Water announced that we would place the ADP in 'standby mode', following the proving period, (which ends in December 2014) while sufficient, cheaper water is available. This will be subject to ongoing reviews and is a decision we will make only if natural inflows into the River Murray and our catchments are at levels that can support sustainable use and will be subject to relevant licences.
The ADP remains South Australia's insurance policy in times of drought and provides a flexible, climate independent water source when we need it. For more information please visit our Regulation page.
The ADP is already receiving world-wide recognition, including:
- short-listed for the 2013 Global Water Awards
- state winner of the Australian Water Association Infrastructure Innovation Award and national finalist
- recognised at the Civil Contractor’s Federation SA award 2012 for excellence in civil construction.
Customers now receiving water
The Adelaide Desalination Plant (ADP) has been producing drinking water since October 2011. As of March 2013, the plant has produced more than 30 billion litres of drinking water – the equivalent of 12,000 Olympic sized swimming pools.
Desalinated water mixes with water treated at the Happy Valley Water Treatment Plant before entering the Happy Valley distribution network. However, the now completed North South Interconnection System Project (NSISP) enables us to deliver this desalinated water to customers in both Adelaide’s northern and southern suburbs.
To find out more watch videos of our staff talking about the project.
The project construction
AdelaideAqua (a consortium of four companies with extensive worldwide desalination experience and strong environmental credentials) were contracted to design, build, operate and maintain the plant for 20 years.
View our construction pictures
An important part of the Adelaide Desalination Project is the transfer pipeline system to deliver water from Port Stanvac to the Happy Valley water treatment supply. Desalinated water is pumped through the pipeline to Happy Valley, where it is combined with water from the water treatment plant before entering the existing water supply network.
The pipeline was constructed by McConnell Dowell Constructors Pty Ltd and Built Environs Pty Ltd (a joint venture).
View pipeline route