AquaSure, a consortium comprising France's Degremont, Australian construction firm Theiss and banker Macquarie, has won a contract yesterday to construct Australia's largest desalination plant in the State of Victoria for $2.9 billion to develop a non-rainfall dependent solution to meet the water needs of the state.
The plant, located in Wonthaggi, about 120km southeast of Melbourne, will have a capacity to produce 150 billion litres of drinking water a year which can be enhanced to 200 billion litres in case of demand.
John Brumby, the premier of Victoria said: ''I am delighted to announce that AquaSure will build Australia's biggest desalination plant near Wonthaggi,'' adding that ''this desalination plant will be operational from the end of 2011 and is critical to securing water supplies for Melbourne and other regions of the state.''
Brumby commended the consortium for coming forward to take up the project amid global financial crisis. The project will deliver as many as 1,700 direct new jobs and 3,050 indirect jobs during construction.
Degremont is a subsidiary of Suez Environnement, a world leader in water and waste water technologies. Theiss is a major Australian engineering and construction company owned by Leighton Holdings, Australia's largest project development and contracting group. The Macquarie group is an international provider of banking, financial and funds management services.
"Together with the government's Food Bowl Modernisation Project and Sugarloaf Pipeline, our new desalination plant will help ease water restrictions. I expect these projects will see our water storages begin to recover in 2012 and restrictions progressively eased,'' the premier said.