Victorian Desalination Project

Delivering a Safe and Reliable Desalination Water Supply to Victoria

The Victorian Desalination Plant, based near Wonthaggi, provides a rainfall-independent source of drinking water to Melbourne and some regional communities. It is one of the world's largest Public Private Partnership (PPP) projects.

It can supply up to 450 MLD of drinking water per day, or about 30% of Melbourne’s water requirements.

The Victorian Government contracted the AquaSure consortium, which brings together SUEZ and Thiess to finance, design, build, operate and maintain the plant for 30 years.

Commissioned in December 2012, the Victorian Desalination Project features an advanced environmentally sustainable design and includes a two-pass reverse osmosis desalination process plant, marine structures and tunnels, 84km underground water transfer pipeline, 87km underground power supply and 225ha ecological reserve.

This $A3.5 billion project is a public-private partnership that has delivered the biggest desalination plant in Australia and one of the biggest reverse osmosis plants in the world. It sets new global benchmarks in both engineering excellence and ecological integration of a water treatment facility, delivering substantial innovation in energy efficiency and best-practices in ecological integration. It is truly a showcase for the global water industry.

An environmental design

An Environmental Management Framework for the plant applies to the main facility, marine structures, pipelines and power supply. It includes 221 strict environmental performance requirements across 38 areas, from wetlands and waterways to air quality and visual amenity.

The plant has been designed to minimise adverse impacts on the landscape, local communities, cultural heritage and flora and fauna.

It's living green roof is the largest in the southern hemisphere. It includes the landscape-wave design which helps limit visibility of the industrial buildings from the surrounding public areas and provides a link to the nearby coastal landscape.

The land-based plant is integrated into its surroundings and preserves the natural environment by creating an ecological space, thus reducing the environmental impact.

Improving energy efficiency

At full capacity (150 GL/year), about 90MW is required to run the plant and pipeline. This power is 100 per cent offset by renewable energy. AQUASURE has committed to buying the same amount of renewable energy every year to operate the desalination plant and transfer pipeline. This ensures thus ensuring that an equivalent amount of renewable energy is injected into the electricity grid.

The plant uses the reverse osmosis process which has been demonstrated to be the most energy efficient method of desalination. AQUASURE has introduced a number of innovative systems to minimise power consumption within the plant during the reverse osmosis process. These include world leading energy recovery and reuse devices.

Giving back to the community

Since the first day of the project, one of the team’s key objectives has been to minimise the project’s ecological impacts and to enhance the local environment.

As part of the project, a 225 ha ecological reserve around the plant was constructed. This is one of the largest ecological restoration projects ever undertaken in Victoria. Today the ecological reserve is open to public, providing local community with a variety of leisure activities such as walking, bird watching, bike rides or picnics with families and friends. This community friendly approach contributes to enhancing the local environment as well as the life of residents living in the area.

View the Victorian Desalination Project brochure

Go on a virtual reality tour of the Victorian Desalination Project!



  • Wonthaggi, Victoria
  • State of VIC (Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning)
Project Type:
  • Build, Own, Operate and Transfer

  • Municipal
  • Desalination

  • 440 MLD
  • D&B: 2009 - 2012
    O&M: 2012 - 2039
Population served:
  • 4.5 Million
  • Awarded the ‘Desalination Plant of the Year’ at the 2013 Global Water Awards
  • Awarded the ‘Project Innovation Award’ at the Victorian Water Awards 2013
  • 225 ha of the 268 ha site has undergone one of the largest single ecological restoration projects of its kind ever undertaken in Victoria
  • The plant was commissioned in record time with all quality and efficiency targets being met 100% of the time.
  • Seamless transition to the operation and maintenance phase
Contact Details

400 Lower Powlett Rd, Wonthaggi, VIC 3995

Tel: 03 5671 9000

© 2017 SUEZ Water Pty Ltd