Press Release

AECOM professionals from Australia, New Zealand, Hong Kong, the United Kingdom and the United States collaborated on “the most impressive technical achievement in the world’s water industry.”

AECOM announced that Sydney’s Desalination Plant, designed in a joint venture by the company, has been named Desalination Plant of the Year at the 2011 Global Water Awards in Berlin, Germany.

The company provided detailed design services for the largest seawater reverse osmosis plant in Australia and the third largest in the world, which had a total construction cost of approximately AUS$1 billion.

Global Water Awards judges praised the project as “the most impressive technical achievement in the world’s water industry.”  AECOM’s extensive design services included acoustics, water and wastewater engineering, process and chemical engineering, tunneling and geotechnical engineering, maritime and marine engineering, civil, structural, mechanical and electrical engineering.

“AECOM is proud to have had the opportunity to work on one of the biggest and most significant water infrastructure projects in Australia,” said James Prothero, AECOM technical director for water in Australia and New Zealand.  “Our worldwide capability for mobilizing resources enabled us to bring in tunneling specialists from the United Kingdom, geotechnical specialists from Hong Kong and water treatment specialists from the United States to really put us on the map for desalination services.“

Opened in January 2010, the 250-ML/day plant uses reverse osmosis to remove salts from seawater to produce drinking quality water.  It can supply up to 15 percent of Sydney’s daily water needs to 1.5 million people with power fully offset by renewable wind energy.

The plant was built for Sydney Water by the Blue Water joint venture comprising Veolia Water and John Holland, and designed in a joint venture by AECOM and Sinclair Knight Merz.

Chairman of Sydney Water’s Board of Directors Tom Parry stated that the project was an amazing partnership between the public and private sector.


“There are very few organizations that can say they have delivered a project of such scale and complexity with an excellent safety record, on time and under budget,” he said.