Construction of our projects

In 2005 South East Queensland (SEQ) was in the grip of the worst drought in the state's recorded history, with the previous six years' rainfall well below average. At the same time, the region continued to experience the fastest population growth in the country, placing an unprecedented demand on the already dwindling water supplies.

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Wivenhoe Dam at the height of the millenium drought
The Queensland Government's response to the water shortage was the South East Queensland Water Grid – the largest urban drought response in Australia. The grid includes new sources of water, dams and other storages and more than 450 kilometres of pipeline and allows water to be moved around the region from areas of abundance to areas of need. Since the grid began operating, total water yield for the region has already increased 14 per cent.

WaterSecure owns and operates the Western Corridor Recycled Water Scheme and the Gold Coast Desalination Plant, the new sources of water in the Grid.

Western Corridor Recycled Water Scheme
The Western Corridor Recycled Water Scheme is the largest water recycling scheme in the Southern Hemisphere and one of the largest in the world. The $2.5 billion scheme includes more than 200 kilometres of large-diameter pipeline, three advanced water treatment plants at Bundamba, Gibson Island and Luggage Point, as well as numerous pumping stations and storage tanks. The three plants have the capacity to produce up to 232 million litres of water each day.

The project was broken into five packets of work – three plants and two pipelines – with each portion designed and constructed by an alliance, with all work overseen by a central Project Management Group. The five alliances brought together 16 of the world's leading engineering, project management, construction and water services companies. This multi-alliance structure enabled design and construction to occur concurrently and allowed the project to progressively become operational.

At the peak of construction there were more than 2000 people working across 45 sites from Luggage Point at the mouth of the Brisbane River, through suburban areas of Brisbane and Ipswich, all the way to Caboonbah at the north-west corner of Lake Wivenhoe.

F
irst water from the Bundamba plant was delivered to Swanbank Power Station in August 2007, significantly reducing the demand on Wivenhoe Dam supplies at the height of the drought. Water from the Western Corridor scheme now supplies the Swanbank and Tarong power stations and there is potential to supply industrial and agricultural customers in the future. When SEQ combined dam levels drop below 40 per cent we will also supplement Wivenhoe Dam supplies.

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 Gold Coast Desalination Plant
The $1.2 billion Gold Coast Desalination Plant is the first large-scale desalination plant on Australia's eastern seaboard and is one of the most energy efficient plants in the world.

The plant was originally a Gold Coast City Council project but as the drought worsened and the Water Grid was developed, the Queensland Government took owernship of the project, making it a key part of the grid. The plant's capacity was increased from 55 megalitres a day to 133 megalitres and it would be connected to the rest of the region.

The plant was constructed by the GCD Alliance and includes the 12 buildings on site, intake and outlet tunnels which stretch more than a kilometre out to sea, a gravity fed inlet structure and a diffuser on the ocean floor. The alliance also built 25 kilometres of pipeline, as well pump stations and storage tanks to connect the plant to existing water infrastructure in the area; these assets have now been handed over to LinkWater to operate.

The alliance structure provided the flexibility needed to complete an evolving project in tight timeframes. More than 4500 people have worked on the Gold Coast Desalination Project since construction began, with a peak workforce of 1053.

The Gold Coast Desalination Plant began supplying water to the Grid in February 2009. Water from the plant mixes with existing Gold Coast water supplies at reservoirs and drinking water treatment plant tanks and is then supplied to homes and businesses on the Gold Coast and Brisbane.

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