Victorian Desalination Project
The Victorian Desalination Project (VDP) is a rainfall-independent source of water capable of supplying up to 150 billion litres a year. This is around one third of Melbourne's annual water consumption. Desalination provides an insurance policy against future dry conditions by supplementing Melbourne's existing catchment supplies.
The project is a public-private partnership with a $3.5 billion capital cost between the State Government and AquaSure, the company contracted to finance, design, construct, operate and maintain the project for 30 years.
The Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning's Capital Projects Group manages the contract with AquaSure on behalf of the state.
The project completed commissioning in December 2012. It proved it is capable of producing water to the quality and quantity required by delivering 23 billion litres of high quality water to the Melbourne network. Good storages since then has meant water has not been ordered from the plant.
Flexible water orders can be made from 0 to 150 billion litres (in set increments) to suit different needs each year.
The VDP plant is located on the Bass Coast near Wonthaggi. It uses the most energy-efficient method of desalinating water, reverse osmosis, and includes energy recovery devices to reduce power consumption.
The project includes an underground transfer pipeline to connect the plant to the Melbourne network through a delivery point at Berwick and transfer main to Cardinia Reservoir.
The pipeline is two-way and includes offtakes so areas in South Gippsland and Western Port can access water from the plant or Cardinia Reservoir, if required.
The world class design includes Australia's largest living green roof and a 225 hectare revegetated ecological reserve for public use. Long intake and outlet tunnels protect the coast and marine environment. Ongoing environmental management is a key project focus.
Many of the plant's key components have a 50 to 100 year life, and the plant will be handed back to the state in working order at the end of AquaSure's contract (in 2039).