A Water Smart Australia Project
Queensland Government - Department of Infrastructure and Planning, Western Corridor Recycled Water Pty Ltd - 2009
- Final progress report Western Corridor Recycled Water Project: Stage 2 (PDF - 3,718 KB) | (RTF - 146 KB)
In 2007 the Commonwealth Government provided $408 million in funding toward the construction of the Western Corridor Recycled Water Project Stage 2 through its Water Smart Australia Program.
The $2.5 billion WCRW Project is the backbone of the South East Queensland Water Grid and was delivered by Western Corridor Recycled Water Pty Ltd, a special purpose vehicle wholly-owned by the Queensland Government.
The Queensland Manufactured Water Authority, trading as WaterSecure, was formed as part of the restructure of South East Queensland's water industry. WaterSecure took ownership of WCRW Pty Ltd and its assets, including the WCRW Project, in September 2009. It continues to own and operate the WCRW Project.
The WCRW Project is easing pressure on regional water supplies by producing an alternative water source for the region's power stations and has the potential to supply industrial and agricultural users. It also provides an important safety net for South East Queensland, with the capacity to supplement the region's drinking water supplies with purified recycled water. This safety net ensures that Australia's fastest growing region will never repeat the experience of 2007 when residents faced the possibility of running out of drinking water within 16 months.
Stage 1 of the project focused on reducing pressure on the region's drinking water supplies by providing an alternative water source for the Swanbank, Tarong and Tarong North Power Stations. These objectives were fulfilled and 25 billion litres of water was supplied to the region's power stations from August 2007 to September 2009. Importantly, in providing this new water source for the region's three major power stations, the WCRW Project also helped to secure the energy generation capacity of the region and network stability throughout Queensland.
Stage 2 of the project focused on increasing the capacity of the project from 66 megalitres of water per day to a maximum of 232 megalitres of water per day. It was envisaged that this additional water could be supplied to industrial and agricultural users, and used to augment potable water supplies in Wivenhoe Dam.
Under Stage 2 of the WCRW Project, the owner was required to complete the following capital works:
- Design and construct a large-diameter pipeline, two pumping stations and a balance tank at Mt Petrie to transport water from the Luggage Point and Gibson Island Advanced Water Treatment Plants (AWTPs) to the pumping facility at Bundamba.
- Design and construct a pipeline to transport water from the Lowood Balance Tank to Lake Wivenhoe via Logan's Inlet.
- Design and construct an advanced water treatment plant at Luggage Point capable of producing 66 megalitres of water a day.
- Design and construct an advanced water treatment plant at Gibson Island capable of producing 50 megalitres of water a day (Note: This capacity was later expanded to include an additional 50 megalitres daily capacity, known as WCRW Project Stage 2B).
By 31 December 2008, the project team had completed the capital works originally planned for the project and the doubling of capacity at the Gibson Island AWTP. Not only was this a major feat in the fast-track construction of a major infrastructure project, it was also the first time that any project in the world had used a combination of the proven technologies of microfiltration, reverse osmosis and advanced oxidation to purify water.
Importantly, while time was the top priority in the delivery of this project the project team did not pursue this objective at the expense of all others. Instead, the team delivered significant additional value through:
- flexible plant design which accommodated innovations such as the doubling of capacity of the Gibson Island AWTP within the original footprint
- value engineering initiatives such as the removal of most anchor blocks from the Western Pipeline through improved route selection
- budget initiatives such as the engagement of an independent estimator and progressive agreement of Alliance contracts which resulted in overall savings of approximately $641 million from the initial Target Outturn Costs submitted by the Alliances
- procurement initiatives such as the use of Alliances and consultancies to procure highly skilled staff across a number of organisations, minimising project risk
- environmental initiatives such as the use of horizontal directional drilling under the Brisbane River, Aquarium Passage and Bulimba Creek, which minimised the environmental impact of the project and resulted in project savings of $20 million
- a focus on safety which saw the WCRW Project achieve a Lost Time Injury Frequency Rate which was a fraction of the industry standard, as little as zero on several significant elements of the project and
- proactive community engagement which resulted in minimal complaints and significant community investment through the WCRW Community Grants Program.
Not only did the owner deliver world-first technology in an extremely short timeframe, it did so in a way which met or exceeded every standard for infrastructure delivery.
Furthermore, the Luggage Point and Gibson Island AWTPs have been producing water which consistently meets the Australian Drinking Water Guidelines since construction was completed on 31 December 2008.