Late last year, after two and a half years of construction and more than 6 million work hours, construction of the $2.5 billion Western Corridor Recycled Water Project was completed.
The Project is the largest recycled water project in the Southern Hemisphere and the third largest in the world, and can provide up to 232 megaliters of water a day. It also provides significant environmental benefits by reducing the amount of phosphorous, nitrogen and treated wastewater released to the Brisbane River and flowing into the environmentally sensitive Moreton Bay.
The Project comprises three advanced water treatment plants linked by a network of more than 200 kilometers of large-diameter underground pipes, nine storage tanks and 12 pumping stations.
More than 15 billion liters of water have already been supplied to Swanbank and Tarong power stations -- water that would otherwise have been taken from dams. Water will also be available to be supplied to future industrial and agricultural customers and, should regional water storages fall below 40 per cent capacity, to the Wivenhoe Dam.
Western Corridor Recycled Water CEO Keith Davies said the Project was internationally significant. "We've had 16 of the world's leading construction, engineering, project management and water services companies working in five alliances, employing thousands of specialists from more than 40 countries," Mr Davies said.
"They've toiled night and day to bring the project in on time and on budget but most importantly they've done it safely, with a lost-time injury rate well below industry standards.
"This work has been hailed around the world, with the project winning more than 10 international and national awards for achievements in management, construction, engineering, water engineering and communication fields."
Because of its size and complexity, the project was delivered in stages known as 1A, 1B, 2A and 2B. Western Corridor Recycled Water Pty Ltd successfully met the construction deadlines for all project stages.
Stage 1A was designed to take immediate pressure off the Wivenhoe Dam by supplying Swanbank Power Station with up to 20 megaliters of water a day. It comprised construction of the first stage of the Bundamba advanced water treatment plant and associated pipelines, and was completed after just 10 months of construction.
Stage 1B upgraded the capacity of the Bundamba advanced water treatment plant to 66 megaliters of water a day. This upgrade increased the amount of water supplied to Tarong and Tarong North Power Stations and was completed in June 2008.
Stage 2A involved construction of the Luggage Point (66 megaliters a day capacity) and Gibson Island (50 megaliters a day capacity) advanced water treatment plants, and more than 80 kilometers of underground pipeline that passed through some of South East Queensland's most developed regions. Stage 2A was completed on October 31, 2008 and marked the first time the entire 200 kilometer system was linked together as a completed whole.
Stage 2B, completed in December 2008, upgraded the Gibson Island advanced water treatment plant and increased its capacity to 100 megaliters a day.
While construction of the project is now complete, further drought contingency works are underway to upgrade the system's yield and ensure the pipeline can efficiently transport increased volumes of water.
The Western Corridor Recycled Water Project is owned by WaterSecure -- a Queensland Government statutory authority that also owns the Gold Coast Desalination Plant. Together these two projects will have the capacity to produce up to 357 megaliters of water a day. This new source of water will work rain, hail or shine to help supply the needs of South East Queensland's growing population regardless of drought and climate change.