inhabitants served

On a cliff 52 meters above sea level.

The construction of a desalination plant and desalinated water distribution pipes, along with the operation and maintenance of the plant over a 20 year period.

The Adelaide plant's geographical location on a cliff 52 metres above sea level, along with the environmental measures at the intake site, makes this plant unique in terms of design and construction.


The Adelaide plant is the first in Australia to incorporate advanced pre-treatment using ultrafiltration membranes and a two stage membrane set-up that provides better energy performance and increases treated water recovery.


360º View of the desalination plant 


  • Location: Port Stanvac, Adelaide, Australia
  • Capacity: 300,000 m3/d
  • Type of contract: EPC + O&M (20 years)
  • Population: 2 million inhabitants

Key aspects and process


  • The sea water intake is composed of a 1.5 km tunnel
  • Sodium hypochlorite and sulphuric acid can be closed in the intake minimise biofuiling and to maintain tunnel conditions
  • The sea water from the intake is pumped up to a height of 57m using 12 dry chamber pumps with a total capacity of 28,400 m3/h


  • Solids filtration systems using 24 racks of disc filters
  • Ability to add coagulant agents, active carbon and sulphuric acid
  • Pretreatment using 28 ultrafiltration submerged membrane cells
  • Safety filtration using 20 filter cartridges prior to the RO
  • Ability to add antiscalant agent to avoid salt precipitation in the system
  • Ability to add sodium metabisulphite to neutralise the oxidising agent added in the intake
  • 12 high pressure pumps

Reverse Osmosis

  • Energy recovery system using ERI pressure exchangers
  • Energy recovery from the saline concentrate output, prior to discharge, using turbines which produce energy using the hydraulic jump between the level of the plant and the sea water
  • 20 first pass trains and 20+10 second pass trains which have been technically developed by ACCIONA
  • First train production capacity of 15,000m3/day, each made up of 180 pressure vessels, and in each one, 8 reverse osmosis membranes
  • Total recovery rate of 48%
  • Low energy consumption

Post Treatment

  • Remineralisation using lime and CO2
  • Disinfection using chlorine and treatment using hydrofluorsilicic acid
  • 2 treated water tanks each with a capacity of 25,000m3

Effluent treatment

  • Advanced treatment of the pre-treatment wash water
  • Neutralization of the membrane cleaning solutions


  • Nº of racks:
    • 20-1st pass
    • 20-2nd front pass
    • 10-2nd rear pass
  • Water production/rack (1st pass): 15,000 m3 per day
  • Nº of passes: 2
  • Nº of stages:
    • 1 in the 1st pass
    • 2 in the 2nd
  • Total no. of membranes: 35,520
  • Type of membranes (1 load) hydranautic

Key figures


m3 per day of total capacity


equivalent inhabitants




pressure tubes


years of EPC + O&M contracts

technology and innovation

advanced pre-treatment system

The technology used in the design makes this desalination plant a global benchmark, as it incorporates an advanced pre-treatment system using ultrafiltration membranes and a double pass system through reverse osmosis membranes.

This exclusive ACCIONA design provides significant benefits, such as:

  • Lower energy consumption
  • Lower operation and maintenance costs
  • Higher desalinated water production
  • A lower environmental impact

Awards and recognitions

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