• Monday (22 June) was a significant day for the team at our Adelaide Desalination Plant (ADP) as drinking water production reached 40 gigalitres (GL) for 2019-20, marking the completion of Stage 1 of the Water for Fodder Program.

Our contract partner AdelaideAqua’s production team eagerly watched the screens in the plant control room at 3:35pm as the final megalitre ticked over, marking this impressive milestone.

The production of this safe, clean drinking water from the Lonsdale-based plant has been a journey that started in November 2019 when Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced that the Federal Government would be funding South Australia to produce up to 100 GL from the ADP to assist farmers experiencing drought conditions in the Murray Darling Basin. As soon as the announcement was made a number of teams across our business, AdelaideAqua and Allwater sprang into action to make the program a reality.

While the announcement was a surprise, the team has been preparing for a situation like this for many years. Since its initial proving period, the ADP has been operating in a mode known as Hot Standby, where it is brought online intermittently at high production levels to ensure the vital asset is able to produce the required volumes of drinking water when it is required. This innovative approach developed in collaboration by the Contract Operations team and AdelaideAqua has become known in the industry as ‘the South Australian model’ and was presented at Ozwater 2019. Being in this mode meant the ADP was able to ramp up production within days of the announcement being made. The plant performed beyond expectations, easily meeting the progress milestones set by the Commonwealth while maintaining a seamless supply experience to our metropolitan customers.

The program has not been without its challenges with chemical supply shortages, production planning, customer aesthetic impacts and energy curtailment just to name a few. A collaborative effort across our business and with our contract partners was able to ensure none of these challenges hindered our delivery. Special thanks go to Contract Operations, Operations Control Centre (OCC), Water Expertise, Asset Management, Media, Communications and Finance teams who worked diligently under the coordination of Senior Manager Production & Treatment Lisa Hannant to deliver this water. We also acknowledge the many hours put in by the Production and Maintenance teams at AdelaideAqua who take great pride in their work at the ADP and ensured the plant successfully delivered on our commitment to the Water for Fodder program.

The ADP has now entered its winter shutdown period, as we await the Federal Government’s decision on whether Water for Fodder Stage 2 will proceed.

This article was published by SA Water: https://www.sawater.com.au/about-us/together/26-june-2020/40GL-milestone