Thorndon Cook Power
Thorndon Cook Power
Thorndon Cook Power
Te Mihi Geothermal Power Station

Victorian Desalination Project

Victorian Desalination Project

The Project

The Victorian Desalination Plant (VDP) was built as a state asset for the Victorian State Government to provide additional water supply capacity to Melbourne city and other parts of Victoria, especially in dry years. The plant is managed and operated by Aquasure under a 30 year contract. Aquasure had won the contract to build and operate the VDP in a competitive bidding process. At the end of the 30 year contract period, Aquasure will hand over the VDP to the State Government, debt free and in full working order. Aquasure produces desalinated water at the request of the State Government and delivers the water to Melbourne Water. The VDP is located at Wonthaggi, on the coast, south-east of Melbourne. The desalinated water is then pumped via an 84 km pipeline from the VDP to Melbourne city, for delivery to Melbourne Water via a transfer pumping station, located at the VDP plant and a booster pumping station located about 70 km from the VDP.

The VDP is Australia’s largest reverse osmosis plant, capable of supplying 150 billion litres of water each year. The plant could provide about a third of Melbourne’s annual water needs. The VDP project was delivered through a Public Private Partnership (PPP) under the Victorian Government’s Partnerships Victoria Policy. The Thiess Degrémont Joint Venture was contracted by AquaSure to design and construct the Victorian Desalination Plant. The project was fully funded by the private sector with more than 30 financial institutions contributing the debt funding of AUD$3.7 billion. A further AUD$0.8 billion was provided by Aquasure’s shareholders. At the peak of construction, the project employed about 4300 people and in its operational phase, it employs about 50 people.

Members of Thorndon Cook Power staff were involved as part of the PB-Beca JV design teams with providing parts of the engineering design and construction phase services for the Theiss Degrémont Joint Venture.

Our Role

Members of Thorndon Cook Power staff were engaged to perform various aspects of the detailed mechanical and electrical design for the Transfer and Booster Pumping Stations on the pipeline to Melbourne. This included:

  • electrical design for the 220/22 kV and 22/400 V power supplies to pumping station main pumps (3 MW each), pump auxiliaries and the site building services. Cable routing and sizing, cable ladder design in the pumping station.
  • mechanical design of piping and other process equipment such as motor operated valves and miscellaneous pumps.


Although the plant is the largest of its kind in Australia, it has a very small footprint, taking up just 38 hectares of the 263 hectare site.

The project was successfully completed despite significant industrial unrest during the construction phase. The plant has achieved its objectives including minimising the effect on the local environment through design innovation, whilst incorporating renewable energy initiatives to offset the reverse osmosis plant’s energy use.


mechanical engineering, electrical engineering

detailed design

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