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Adelaide Desalination Plant (ADP)

Adelaide Desalination Plant (ADP)

SA Water's largest desalination plant is the Adelaide Desalination Plant (ADP) at Port Stanvac. The plant was built to provide long-term water security for South Australia. The plant has been delivering drinking water since 2011.

How much water can the Adelaide Desalination Plant supply?

In full operation, the plant is capable of delivering 100 gigalitres (GL) per year. This is about half of Adelaide's annual water needs.

The plant's water production capacity is extremely flexible. The output of the plant can be as low as 10% or as high as 100% (in 10% increments).

The ADP's water production can:

  • Increase or decrease in response to customer demand
  • Increase in times of drought
  • Decrease when the state experiences high rainfall
  • Meet sudden need requirements in times of emergency

How much water is it currently producing?

  • Water production to date (to end of June 2015) = approximately 125.5 billion litres
  • Water production for last month (June 2015) = approximately 120 million litres

How does the plant reduce environmental impact?

Minimising the environmental impact of the plant is very important. A sustainable design was used to reduce its carbon footprint. The plant has one of the smallest carbon footprints of any desalination plant in the world. Some of the ways we reduce our environmental impact include:

  • Using energy from renewable sources
  • Harvesting rainwater on-site for use within the plant
  • Capturing stormwater and surface water run-off in local wetlands. This process naturally cleans the water before it goes back out to sea
  • Encouraging local plants and animals to return to the site through revegetation.

Along with other government and community groups, we also help to protect Gulf St Vincent.

We have been monitoring Gulf St Vincent since 2008, before the plant was built. This means we have a benchmark against which to monitor conditions in the Gulf.

Watch this video to find out what goes into managing the marine environment at the Adelaide Desalination Plant site:

Returning salt into the sea

The ADP produces saline concentrate as one of the by-products of the desalination process. This concentrate is put back into the ocean using a series of special diffusers.

The diffusers sit about 1 km off-shore and are designed to rapidly mix the concentrate with sea water to properly dilute it. The other important role of the diffusers is to help keep the salinity levels consistent in the Gulf St Vincent.

We make sure  the marine environment in the gulf is constantly monitored. This gives us real-time data on water temperature, salinity and the speed of the currents. We are committed to making sure the plant has minimal impact on the marine environment.

The intake system used on the desalination plant was designed to reduce the speed of the water. Doing this minimises the risk of any marine life getting caught in the water intake.

This video was taken in 2013 by our marine biologist while diving near the diffusers. It shows you the fish and marine life that have made the area around the diffusers home.

The plant's out-fall system was also designed to have minimal impact on the nearby coastal reefs. The out-fall goes beneath the cliffs and under the sea bed.

Storm water run-off from the Adelaide Desalination Plant site is captured with on-site wetlands. These wetlands clean the water before it makes its way to the sea.

Watch this video to find out what goes into managing the marine environment at the Adelaide Desalination Plant site:


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