Australia: Desalination Equipment E-mail
Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Prior to 2005, Australia had no large-scale desalination facilities. In 2007, Western Australia became the first state to build a large-scale seawater desalination plant in Australia. The Western Australia state government saw desalination as part of a solution to a drought that has been depleting its water supplies. The drought, which began in 2002, continues to plague many cities and regional areas across Australia. As a result of Western Australia’s success, and the drought’s continuing adverse effects, other state-based governments have progressed plans to build large-scale desalination plants.

Industry sources anticipate that desalination projects will be worth around USD700 million per year for the next three years. Reverse osmosis desalination for brackish water is the most-utilized desalination method in Australia. Degremont (France), Veolia (France), and Unitied Utilities (U.K.) have won most of the projects. U.S. companies have not been active in this segment. U.S. companies will need to establish a local sales presence, and form strategic alliances with major civil engineering firms, to take advantage of opportunities in the Australian desalination market.

Australia: Desalination Equipment By John Kanawati 01/2008. U.S. Commercial Service.

A drought, that began in 2002 and continues to affect much of Australia, has created strong interest in large and small-scale desalination plants. The Western Australia State Government has cited the drought as a major factor in its decision to embrace large-scale desalination. Average water flow into Perth’s metropolitan dams has dropped significantly while increasing population growth across the State has meant that demand for water continues to increase. The Government has stated that desalination is a climate-independent water source and a key part of its plan to ensure a secure water supply. While the water crisis has eased in Sydney over the last few months, water storage levels remain critically low in other cities and regional areas across Australia.

Prior to 2007, Australia’s largest desalination plant was a 35ML/day reverse osmosis (RO) plant at a power station in Bayswater, New South Wales. The plant desalinates discharge water before supplying it to the power station for reuse. In October 2006, Veolia (France) won a USD65 million contract to upgrade the RO plant and associated water treatment systems.

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