Adelaide Desalination Plant (ADP)

Adelaide Desalination Plant (ADP)

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

Adelaide Desalination Plant supply

In full operation, the plant is capable of producing 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

Current production

  • Water production to date (to end of September 2018) = approximately 143 billion litres
  • Water production for last month (September 2018) = 363 million litres

Adelaide Desalination Plant tours

We regularly run tours of the desalination plant right throughout the year. Tours will take you around the plant in a bus and then to a viewing area inside  one of the main process buildings. You can even taste the water straight from the plant at the beautiful Kauwi Interpretive Centre while listening to a short presentation before the tour. The Kauwi Centre tells the story of water in South Australia, from European settlement through to now. It also provides information about the Kaurna people, the traditional custodians of the land. Sessions take about 1.5 hours and bookings are essential.

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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  • Major faults

  • Underway

  • Hubbe Ct
  • Burnside
  • 19/10/2018
  • Water Supply On
  • 19/10/2018 06:42 PM - We are attending to an incident in Burnside with no interruption to the water supply. The safety of our crews and customers comes first, and we always aim to minimise inconvenience by restoring services as quickly as we can. Reference Number WO: 06607619.
  • See all major faults

  • Scheduled works

  • Underway
  • Colville Rd
  • Whites Valley
  • 22/10/2018
  • Temporary Supply Interruption
  • Estimated start time and water supply off: 26/10/2018 09:00 AM
    Estimated restore time and water supply back on: 26/10/2018 06:00 PM

    We’re improving your services and undertaking maintenance work in Whites Valley. Sometimes our crews need to temporarily interrupt the water supply to our customers and/or manage traffic while they are working. Temporary traffic management may remain in place until reinstatement of the impacted road is complete. We always aim to minimise inconvenience by restoring services as safely and quickly as we can.

  • See all scheduled works