The Western Australian Government has announced that stage one of the Alkimos Seawater Desalination Plant (ASDP) is set to be delivered by a consortium consisting of Acciona Agua Australia, Acciona Construction and Jacobs Group Australia, known as the Northern Water Partnership (NWP). 

The $2.8 billion plant and associated projects will provide an initial 50 billion litres of climate-resilient drinking water when commissioned in 2028, with a future second stage doubling capacity to 100 billion litres annually.

In addition to design and construction, NWP will also operate ASDP under an alliance model with Water Corporation for at least ten years from 2028. The alliance will be known as the Alkimos Seawater Alliance.

The contract provides for employment and development opportunities for at least 155 apprentices and trainees – representing 11.5 per cent of the total workforce.

Among the project’s 1,300 direct and indirect jobs will be a peak onsite workforce of 600, supported by a further 200 office-based roles.

More than $950 million of the total contract value will be spent with Western Australian contractors and subcontractors, with at least $59 million going towards Aboriginal businesses.

Work to prepare the site began in late 2023, with nearly half a million cubic metres of soil already moved. Construction of the plant and associated network integration projects is scheduled to start mid-2024.

ASDP will have net zero greenhouse gas emissions during construction and operation and is expected to allow Water Corporation to reduce its groundwater abstraction by 30 billion litres a year – helping to preserve healthy wetlands, parks, forests and public open spaces in Perth’s north.

The project has received environmental approval from federal and state regulators and will be carefully designed to protect the surrounding environment.

Western Australian Minister for Water, Simone McGurk, said that awarding this contract represents another key milestone in this major project which will future proof water supply for more than 2.5 million Western Australians.

“As the Minister for Training and Workforce Development, it’s pleasing to see Water Corporation prioritise employment and development opportunities for apprentices and trainees, to grow the future workforce,” Ms McGurk said. 

Member for Butler, John Quigley, said that this is a big opportunity for the state’s construction sector, with $950 million to be spent with local contractors and subcontractors.

“Our government is investing in a climate-resilient, secure water supply for more than 2.5 million Western Australians.”

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