Global Water Intelligence is proud to announce the shortlisted entries for the 2016 Global Water Awards. Online voting is now open and the awards themselves will be presented by by Felipe Calderón, President of Mexico (2006 - 2012), Chairman of the Global Commission on the Economy and Climate, at a special ceremony to be held on the evening of 19 April 2016 at the Emirates Palace in Abu Dhabi, UAE.
Water Company of the Year
Desalination Company of the Year
Water Technology Company of the Year
Breakthrough Water Technology Company of the Year
Water Project of the Year
Wastewater Project of the Year
Desalination Plant of the Year
Water Reuse Project of the Year
Industrial Water Project of the Year
Water Deal of the Year
Water Leaders Award
Beijing Origin Water Technology
- No other major water company can claim to have grown at quite so meteoric a rate in 2015. Over the course of last year, Origin Water’s contracted water and wastewater treatment capacity grew from 600,000m³/d to 4.4 million m³/d as it romped through China collecting PPP contracts. Its market capitalisation, meanwhile, grew by a staggering 71% in domestic currency terms to almost $10 billion – even while the stock market lurched around it.
- It was not just stock exchange investors that bought into this growth trajectory. The Chinese government, aware that its 2015–2020 Water Pollution Prevention Plan would catalyse membrane bioreactor investment, ploughed its own funds into the firm in 2015, taking a 12% stake in September alongside an unnamed private investor.
- Origin Water took the term public-private partnership to an entirely new level in 2015, as it shepherded its daughter company Yunnan Water onto the Hong Kong stock exchange. Yunnan Water is now making its own low-pressure membranes and aiming for new markets further afield in Southeast Asia. Origin Water’s global ambitions don’t end there: after setting up an American office in 2014, it has secured partnerships with a clutch of firms in North America as it looks to prise open its competitors’ markets.
- Biwater took its ability to put winning propositions in front of credit-challenged governments to a whole new level in 2015, securing a $1.2 billion deal with the Kurdistan government to supply more than 1 million m³/d of urgently needed water and wastewater treatment infrastructure to a population under increasing strain from an influx of refugees.
- In the US, Biwater has built up one of the largest reference bases of installed reverse osmosis capacity in the business. Severe water shortages in California and Texas helped it secure a string of contract wins last year, as it increasingly becomes the supplier of choice.
- Biwater’s export finance connections and in-house negotiating skills have enabled it to carve out a unique role as a deal broker, bringing bespoke financial, engineering, technical, and operational solutions to bear where they are most needed in the world. No other water company active today is as willing to engage where it really matters.
VA Tech Wabag
- Wabag kicked off 2015 in style, winning the prestigious right to build and operate a 140,000m³/d sewage treatment plant in Varanasi, India’s holiest city on the banks of its most sacred river. This reference puts the company in a strong position to contest the huge wastewater treatment and reuse opportunities unlocked by the government’s ambitious Ganga clean-up programme.
- Wabag also hit its stride in Southeast Asia last year, securing its largest EPC contract ever – a €200 million order for an integrated effluent treatment plant for Malaysian oil giant Petronas’ new refining and petrochemicals complex in Johor.
- Even as Wabag consolidated its grip on existing markets – commissioning the 190,000m³/s Al Ghubrah desalination plant in Oman and inaugurating a 360,000m³/d water treatment plant in Izmir, Turkey – the ferocious push into new territories continued unabated. A global realignment saw the new Middle East and Africa cluster buoyant on the back of its first EPC order in Bahrain and its first large-scale contract in Nigeria. One of the few international water contractors to have retained a presence in Iran throughout the sanctions, Wabag is now also in a tremendous position to capitalise on the upcoming inflow of international investment. No other brand based in the developing world inspires such global respect.
- In 2015, Veolia changed the basis of its engagement with clients by introducing the concept of “co-construction”, inventing new models of collaboration, seeking out areas of complementary expertise, and activating new partnerships with fund providers, civil society, local bodies, and clients. This new approach found success in a variety of creative new alliances with partners including food company Danone, IT specialist IBM, insurer Swiss Re, and social business networks Ashoka and Antropia.
- The restructuring of the group to create One Veolia has created a lower-cost organisation, more tightly co-ordinated to deliver value to its clients. On the water side of the business, this has led to contract successes including the $275 million contract to design, build and operate a flowback and produced water treatment plant for Antero Resources in West Virginia, and a €445 million delegated water services contract in Lille, France.
- Veolia has comprehensively defined what it means to be the world’s leading private water company. It has re-established its credentials as an efficient operator, while repositioning its offering to meet the aspirations of its municipal and industrial clients. Most importantly, it has moved its position at the table from sitting opposite the client in a zero-sum game to sitting next to them, working together to develop brilliant new solutions to some of the world’s toughest environmental challenges.
For the desalination company which made the greatest overall contribution to the desalination industry in 2015.
- Acciona Agua’s rise in the Gulf desalination market has been nothing short of meteoric. From a standing start in 2012, it succeeded in bringing the 136,383m³/d Fujairah F1 expansion online last year, and secured two important EPC contracts in Qatar in May. It is now the Spanish company with the single largest presence in the Gulf desalination market.
- The GCC’s historical resistance to membrane desalination means that most EPC contractors would have been happy to be awarded Qatar’s first large-scale reverse osmosis facility (the 164,000m³/d Ras Abu Fontas A3 plant). Acciona made it a double whammy by simultaneously winning the contract to build the 284,000m³/d RO component of the Facility D plant, also in Qatar.
- The success of Acciona Agua’s desalination business doesn’t just come down to skilful negotiation and forward-thinking process engineering. It is backed by a robust R&D team, which is developing the UltraDAF-Evo pre-treatment system to deal with algal blooms, the Hiflus membrane-based pre-treatment application, an energy-efficient backwash treatment system (Vetra), and HydroBionets, a wireless sensor to detect membrane soiling.
- The Ghalilah SWRO project delivers an energy consumption of less than 3kWh per cubic metre of product water. This is believed to be a record low for reverse osmosis technology in the GCC region.
- During the year, Aquatech showcased a series of technology breakthroughs, including the LoWatt membrane desalination system, which delivers a high level of energy efficiency and chemical-free pre-treatment; AquaR2RO, which maximises the recovery rate from reverse osmosis in brine concentration; and Once-Through Flash, which recovers heat from the once-through steam generators used in the Canadian oil sands to drive a vertical tube evaporator.
- Aquatech aspires to make deep positive contributions to industry, society and the environment. In 2015 it lived up to that aim globally, delivering brilliant solutions to its industrial clients, bringing lower-cost and energy-efficient water to the communities it serves, and protecting the environment from some of the most difficult wastewater streams known to man.
Black and Veatch
- The company has long been keen to rebalance its water business with a larger emphasis on international contracts. The securing of the contract to advise the Saline Water Conversion Corporation on Jeddah 4 – the first mass-scale membrane plant in Saudi Arabia – plus major consultancy wins with PUB in Singapore and the government of the Hong Kong SAR proves that B&V’s desalination credentials are making their mark on the largest clients in the most significant markets around the world.
- As independent engineer on the Carlsbad desalination project, B&V was faced with a mind-boggling array of technical and permitting issues on one of the most complex and long-running projects in desal history. The successful commissioning of the plant in 2015 marks a staggering achievement for B&V, the Carlsbad team, and the desal industry as a whole.
- The sharing of technological solutions between desalination and wastewater reuse is becoming more and more commonplace, partly thanks to the pioneering work undertaken by Black & Veatch’s pragmatic engineers. The company’s design blueprint for the expansion of the Orange County Groundwater Replenishment System in California – which came online last year – demanded a similar suite of technologies to brackish water desalination to achieve the same end result.
- The drought in California has dramatically escalated the need to broaden the state’s water resourcing palette. The 189,250m³/d seawater desalination plant in Carlsbad – California’s largest by far – has IDE’s engineering prowess written all over it, and will act as an industry benchmark for decades to come. The company also has an eye on the future, opening a new office in Texas – the next US state to espouse a serious seawater desalination agenda.
- By securing the first ever build-own-operate contract for a produced water treatment plant in China – employing its proprietary mechanical vapour compression technology – IDE proved yet again last year that it is equally at ease serving industrial clients with thermal desal solutions.
- IDE’s research and development efforts play a vital role in its ability to deliver the best solutions in the business. Its direct osmosis-high salinity (DO-HS) cleaning system prolongs membrane life, while the company has also developed a solution to utilise the waste “coldness” from the LNG regasification process for cost-effective seawater desalination. It is this relentless dedication to innovation and excellence that will ensure it dominates the next 50 years in the desal business.
- Danaher’s water portfolio has been built up through a series of canny acquisitions, but it is how these companies have performed once they have joined the Danaher group structure that defines the success of the company. Trojan has been pushing the boundaries of disinfection technology since it was acquired in 2005. The commissioning of the TrojanUVSwift ECT unit at Wichita Falls in Texas in February 2015 and the activation of the 290MGD (1.1 million m³/d) Croton water filtration plant in New York the same year are testament to that. Hach, acquired in 1999, has similarly thrived in 2015, developing and commercialising new technologies in the fields of portable water analysis, predictive diagnostics, lab titration and automatic sampling.
- Pall Corporation on its own could justify a position on the shortlist for Water Technology Company of the Year. After some years of ambivalence, the company re-energised its approach to the water market in 2015, sharpening up its sales and marketing efforts, breathing new life into neglected product lines, rolling out new products such as the Aria packaged water treatment system, and dramatically expanding its mobile fleet.
- Danaher has pulled together a unique matrix of analytics expertise, water treatment technologies, and related chemicals serving the water industry. These units, empowered by the Danaher Business System, have created an unstoppable force in the global water industry.
GE Water & Process Technologies
- GE Water’s unique portfolio of technologies and water treatment chemicals gives the company exceptional insight into its customers’ problems, and it has used this insight to drive innovation across the company in a way which threatens to leave its competitors in the dust. No other water company has been as active in launching new products in 2015 than GE.
- GE is the dominant player in the energy sector, serving both upstream and downstream markets in power generation. The desire to drive down energy costs for water users whilst minimising water costs for energy producers has become a key theme for innovation, ensuring that its propositions are equally compelling at $30/bbl oil as they were at $130/bbl oil.
- With its “Unimpossible Missions” campaign, GE boasts how every day it pushes the boundaries of what is possible. In 2015, GE Water lived up to the claim, showing that even an industrial giant can be as creative as a Silicon Valley start-up. Such is the strength of the culture of innovation at GE.
- Larger companies have tried and failed to bring together the roles of systems integrator and chemical supplier. H2O Innovation has used smart technologies to bridge the two disciplines, creating a virtuous circle based on a greater understanding of the customer experience. This has led to better product innovation, increased market share, and greater opportunities to learn from customers.
- The FiberFlex membrane module system changes the economics of membrane systems by freeing the customer from the need to buy replacement membranes from the same supplier. The fact that the system has taken off so rapidly is a sign of how much customers value this freedom.
- H2O Innovation has demonstrated in 2015 that a small company with the right combination of creativity, entrepreneurialism, and dedication can shake up the established ways of the global water industry – and thrive. The rest of the world should take notice.
- Last year, Suez inaugurated its smart operations centre in Le Pecq outside Paris, enabling it to remotely monitor water networks and infrastructure on a global basis. Its ground-breaking smart solutions package helped secure new contracts in Alençon and Calais in France, and Aguas Vega de la Sierra Elvira in Spain. Beyond smart solutions for cities, Suez has driven rural efficiency with smart irrigation technology, winning new contracts with El Vicario and Sol Y Arena in Spain.
- On the industrial side, Suez has emerged as a technology powerhouse after several years of investment in new businesses. Acquisitions in 2015 included Canadian oil & gas firm Poseidon, and B&V Group, which is a leader in conditioning for a host of key industrial sectors. This investment led to a string of commercial successes in 2015. With a list of cutting-edge industrial technologies such as Cyclonixx (oil/water separation), Oxyblue (COD elimination), Microblue (ozonation/adsorption) and Cleargreen (ammonium removal), Suez has the tools to succeed in any arena.
- When Suez dropped the Degrémont brand at the beginning of 2015, it was accused of abandoning one of the greatest names in water technology. What is now clear is that technology is no longer just a subsidiary of the company. It is central to everything that Suez stands for as it drives forward the resource revolution.
- Desalitech is cutting a swathe through the market for commercial RO systems, notching up sales to Coca-Cola, Southern California Edison, and Novelis, among other Fortune 500 companies. With water efficiency a key priority for many industrial water users, Desalitech’s high-recovery, low-energy system has become the decisive solution.
- Speaking at last year’s International Desalination Association World Congress, experts including Tony Fane, Menachem Elimelech, and Gary Amy are increasingly convinced that Desalitech’s closed-circuit desalination system offers a key pathway to drive the energy consumed in salt separation towards its thermodynamic minimum.
- The slow build-up of salinity in aquifers and waterways is one of the great environmental challenges of our age. Desalitech’s breakthrough technology represents a remarkable step towards a practical, affordable solution.
- In 2015, Nanostone’s segmented Monolith module changed the value proposition of ceramic membranes. The new CM-131 membrane delivers the robust performance expected of ceramics, coupled with a price tag comparable to that of traditional polymeric membranes.
- Nanostone acquired the Rochem and Sepro businesses from the wreckage of Ultura in 2014, with financial backing from True North Venture Partners. In 2015, the company revitalised these two well-established polymeric membrane brands to become effective competitors in the “tough-to-treat” market. It means that Nanostone can offer its clients the best membrane to suit their needs, irrespective of materials technology, whilst making inroads into the burgeoning ZLD market.
- Rapid industrialisation and tightening environmental regulations have driven global demand for effective treatment solutions for leachates, brines, and other industrial effluents. Nanostone has become the go-to technology company in this segment.
- Besides reducing sludge volumes by up to 60%, the SLG system produces much higher dewatering and thickening capture rates resulting in a much cleaner filtrate return to the headworks. – and reduces odours. After Roquebrune on the Côte d’Azur fitted an SLG system, complaints about smells from the local wastewater treatment plant almost vanished in 2015.
- Orège entered the US market at the beginning of last year, and by the end of 2015 had three pilot plants up and running, one of which – in Allentown (Pennsylvania) – led to an immediate commercial sale.
- As wastewater treatment standards rise across the world, sludge volumes are becoming increasingly difficult to manage. Orège’s technology delivers impressive and immediate savings to every wastewater utility where sludge volumes have become a problem.
- Under the leadership of founder and CEO Wu Hongmei, who packaged and sold her previous membrane business CNC Technology to Siemens in 2005, Scinor surpassed its targets for global expansion in 2015. Its US subsidiary ended its first year of operations having secured three operating municipal references, including a 7,570m³/d membrane train in Murfreesboro, Tennessee, and was expecting US sales of $10 million for the year ending 31 December 2015.
- Competitors in the US market are becoming increasingly unnerved by Scinor’s strategy of targeting the membrane replacement market. Scinor’s TIPS membranes received US government cryptosporidium and virus removal accreditation (NSF 419) in 2015 for six models which are designed as replacements for its rivals’.
- Scinor is not just enjoying international success in the United States. It boasts 150 references worldwide with a combined capacity of over 1.1 million m³/d, spanning South Korea, Indonesia, Japan, Mongolia and Colombia, and 2015 saw it open its first office in Singapore to drive expansion in Southeast Asia. The company aims to float on the Hong Kong stock exchange in 2016 to raise funds for a worldwide expansion that will see half of its revenue come from international sales by 2018.
Ceyranbatan surface water plant, Azerbaijan
- Ceyranbatan is the eighth-largest low-pressure membrane treatment facility in the world, and the largest UF plant to use surface water as a feed source. The sheer size of the facility offers ample evidence of the water stress facing the region – desertification has increased, while decades of rampant oil and chemical production have rendered many water sources unusable. The government’s commitment to rectifying chronic water shortages in its capital city saw it put AZN290 million ($185 million) of its own money into the project.
- The design and construction of the facility presented serious technical challenges, with the contractors required to employ exacting micro-tunnelling technology for the water intake. UF technology was also a first for Azerbaijan, and Azersu will look to capitalise on the skills transfer opportunities from its private sector partners in the decades to come.
- Creaking Soviet-era infrastructure is acting as a brake on sustainable growth across the Caucasus and Central Asia, and Baku’s water system is no exception. Spurred on by the success of the Ceyranbatan project, Azersu is now planning to spend up to $10 billion more on water and wastewater infrastructure in the Baku area as part of its commitment to catapult the country into the 21st century.
Croton Water Filtration Plant, USA
- The Croton water system is New York City’s oldest, providing water to the city through the New Croton Aqueduct since 1842. In 1989, the US EPA enforced the Surface Water Treatment Rule, mandating all drinking water from surface sources to be filtered. Following several protracted system shutdowns in the 1990s and 2000s due to contamination, the upgraded plant will ensure a more reliable source of drinking water in future.
- To build the largest underground filtration plant in the US, an 880-foot tunnel was drilled to divert water from the local aqueduct, with two more tunnels being bored to channel the water back. The drilling, blasting and excavation removed more than 765,000m³ of rock and soil – enough to cover the whole of Central Park to a depth of 20 centimetres.
- Topped off with the perfectly manicured Mosholu golf course, the plant hosts the largest “living roof” in North America. Visually integrated with its surroundings, the surface architecture allows all surface water to flow naturally to designated collection ponds without the aid of pumps. Despite being fantastically over budget and years overdue, the plant is a big coup for the Big Apple.
Mujib Dam water supply project, Jordan
- The groundwater supplies that had traditionally provided drinking water in Karak Province have become critically overstretched due to skyrocketing demand and increasingly arid conditions. By taking advantage of previously untapped resources, the MWI is adeptly facing up to the ongoing water issues in Jordan.
- The surface water at the Mujib Dam suffers from high organic loads, microbiological pollution, and significant turbidity. By taking a tailored approach to water handling through the deployment of UF and UV treatment technologies, the water supply project reclaims a source of water that was previously disposed of into the Dead Sea, turning it into another weapon in the country’s water supply arsenal.
- Despite its location in extremely challenging rocky terrain, the project achieved completion at an astonishing rate. The project went from planning to commissioning in just five months – a crucial achievement for such a critical piece of infrastructure.
Tshikapa Drinking Water Plant, DRC
- The DRC is rich in natural resources, but years of civil war and deep-seated corruption has placed it close to the bottom of the UN Human Development Index. 70% of its citizens lack access to safe drinking water, and large numbers of children die from water-borne diseases. The population of Tshikapa is expected to double to reach 1.1 million due to the ongoing deportation of Congolese immigrants by the Angolan government. The new water treatment plant will greatly improve hygiene standards and reduce child mortality from cholera and diarrhoea.
- Building infrastructure requires infrastructure, but Tshikapa has neither paved roads nor public utilities. The project team’s dedication saw them ship building materials from Antwerp, ultimately delivering them to the project site after a 50-day truck journey on Tshikapa’s mud trails at an average of 6.5km per day.
- Since Belgium’s Société Minière du Beceka first mined Tshikapa’s rich diamond deposits in 1919, the wealth of the land has been continuously exploited, without a parallel improvement in the quality of the lives of its inhabitants. The construction of the DRC’s largest drinking water plant is a vital step towards reversing the decline of water supply coverage and security that has arisen from years of conflict.
Atotonilco WWTP, Mexico
- Atotonilco takes on the monumental task of cleaning almost 60% of the wastewater generated by the 21 million people living in the Greater Mexico City area. As well as positively impacting health and hygiene in the city, 300,000 farmers in the Tula Valley will for the first time be able to irrigate their crops with treated wastewater.
- Built in a single phase, the plant features dual treatment lines for rainy and dry seasons. A physico-chemical line treats an average flow of up to 14.4 m³/s (1.24 million m³/d) during the rainy season, while a conventional biological system is capable of treating an average flow of up to 27.6 m³/s (2.38 million m³/d). The facility is also equipped with a biogas generating system which provides between 60% and 80% of its energy needs.
- Mexico’s 2030 water agenda identified significant deficits in wastewater treatment capacity. As the largest wastewater plant in Latin America, Atotonilco not only plugs a big hole in the gap, but will serve as a blueprint of sustainability for similar projects elsewhere in the region.
East Selwyn Sewerage Scheme, New Zealand
- With the structural design for the facility only 20% completed, MWH’s plans were interrupted by the 2011 Christchurch earthquake, which forced a redraft of the schematics after the event dramatically altered population projections for the region. The team also had to overcome a scarcity of structural engineering resources following the earthquake, yet maintained the programme on schedule in an environment of major aftershocks.
- A key part of meeting project budgets involved the use of renewable energy in the sludge treatment process. This resulted in the construction of New Zealand’s first municipal solar air drying hall, which removes about 70% of the moisture in the sludge. The hall only requires electricity to run fans and a mechanical sludge manager, resulting in tremendous cost savings of around NZ$17 million (US$11.3 million) since the start of operations, and annual savings of more than NZ$250,000 (US$166,800) in sludge disposal costs.
- The project is a shining example of triumph through flexibility in the wake of a natural calamity, involving a swift reassessment of priorities through a combination of innovative engineering and precision financial budgeting to deal with the ultimate case of force majeure.
Hong Kong Integrated Wastewater and Sludge Management
Stage 2A of the Harbour Area Treatment Scheme (HATS) comprises the construction of sewage conveyance systems, the upgrading of the Stonecutters Island Sewage Treatment Works (SCISTW), and the upgrading of eight preliminary treatment works on Hong Kong Island, increasing treatment capacity to 2.4 million m³/d. This coincides with the commissioning of the world’s largest sludge treatment facility (2,000 tonnes/day) in Tsang Tsui.
HATS 2A was implemented by the Drainage Services Department (DSD), with Arup acting as consultant. A Biwater-led team completed the upgrade of the SCISTW – which features one of the world’s largest underground sewage pumping stations – while the Environmental Protection Department (EPD) appointed a Veolia/Leighton/John Holland consortium to design and build the STF.
- “Hong Kong” in Chinese literally means “fragrant port”, but the stench from the coastal waters of Victoria Harbour was threatening to deprive the city of its identity. HATS is an initiative to improve the quality of water in the harbour area, and the completion of stage 2A means that all sewage generated by five million residents either side of the Victoria harbour will be sent for treatment, instead of being discharged directly into the sea.
- On its own, HATS would have solved one problem whilst creating another, by putting pressure on limited landfill space with the greater amount of sludge generated. The thermal-based STF plays a key part in the solution by incinerating the sludge to generate heat, which then drives a steam turbine to generate power, with any surplus being directed to the grid.
- The water quality in Victoria Harbour has improved markedly, as has the quality of life for Hong Kong’s residents. Beaches have reopened, and recreational water activities – previously halted due to pollution – have resumed. The neat dovetailing of the numerous infrastructure components reflects a uniquely holistic and forward-thinking approach to municipal wastewater and environmental management.
Strategic Tunnel Enhancement Programme, Abu Dhabi
A tunnelling and sewerage project to connect Abu Dhabi city with the new wastewater treatment facilities at Wathba. The project involves the construction of a 41km deep sewer tunnel and 45km of link sewers, in addition to a major terminal pumping station. It is designed to transport average flows of 22m3/s (1.9 million m3/d) and peak flows of 39m3/s (3.4 million m3/d) to accommodate population growth up to 2030.
The Abu Dhabi Sewerage Services Company hired CH2M as programme manager to execute the AED6 billion (US$1.6 billion) project, with the deep tunnel works contracts delivered on time and on budget by Impregilo and Samsung C&T Corporation. The pumping station was designed by Mott MacDonald and built by Odebrecht.
- The massive tunnel project makes up part of Plan Abu Dhabi 2030, an urban development project. It is a deep gravity system which channels sewage from Abu Dhabi island through massive tunnels, helping to reduce odour and the chances of overflow during times of flash flooding. The ability to handle such immense volumes of wastewater is crucial to Abu Dhabi’s target of achieving 100% wastewater reuse by 2018.
- The programme sets a new benchmark for the region, and minimised environmental impact and disruptions to the community through the use of trenchless technology and mechanised deep tunnelling techniques. The terminal pumping station is the largest of its kind in the world, and will allow 35 existing pumping stations to be decommissioned, freeing up valuable land for development.
- Designed for a maintenance-free 100-year lifecycle, the new system will improve reliability, reduce operating costs, and mitigate CO2 emissions. Delivering the major portions of such a monumental project on time was testament to the team’s dedication, and all that remains now is local link connections before the STEP project can begin to transform Abu Dhabi’s wastewater handling abilities.
Barka 1 IWPP expansion, (Phase 2), Oman
- The use of pre-used desalination elements combined with sharp financial and technical management by both client and contractor meant the project smashed delivery expectations, reaching full operating speed less than 12 months after the first contract signing in January 2015.
- The development of the plant shows a mastery of synergistic planning. Raw seawater is taken from the existing MSF plant’s heat reject section to supply the new SWRO facility, while the new installation shares intake and outfall facilities for raw water and brine discharge with the established hybrid plant. This kept energy demand and capital cost to a minimum, while requiring only a relatively small physical footprint.
- An ultra-flexible and highly responsive approach has allowed Oman to cope adeptly with constantly fluctuating water demand patterns at a time when constant droughts and demand growth are putting the country’s water system under unprecedented strain.
- The successful completion of the largest desalination plant in North America followed years of seemingly insurmountable technical, financial and legal hurdles. The tenacity shown by the developer team is matched only by the importance of seawater desalination as a key part of the solution to California’s water crisis.
- A canny combination of state-of-the art energy recovery technology with an external energy offsetting programme makes Carlsbad the first major infrastructure project in the state of California to completely neutralise its carbon footprint. The carbon offsetting programme helped fund the regeneration of forest areas decimated by wildfires in 2007.
- The repurposing of an existing seawater intake pipe formed a crucial plank of the developer’s plans to minimise the impact on the surrounding environment. At the same time, Poseidon retained its green credentials by partnering with the US Fish and Wildlife Service to create, restore and enhance 66 acres of vulnerable local wetland.
Fujairah F1 SWRO expansion, UAE
- The expansion makes Fujairah F1 one of the world’s largest membrane desalination facilities, and is a definitive statement of intent that membrane desal is the way forward in the UAE. The growing presence of mass SWRO desalination is helping to future-proof Abu Dhabi’s water supply as power providers switch from thermal to renewable sources of energy.
- The plant has an impressive array of green credentials, proving that desalination can reduce its environmental footprint, even at large scale and in the harshest conditions. The blending of raw seawater with heat reject water from existing onsite MSF units reduces discharge into the ocean, while the deployment of one of the world’s largest DAF facilities keeps guard against the constant threat of red tides in the Gulf of Oman.
- The recirculation and blending of intake water increases the temperature and pressure of the intake stream, thus reducing the energy requirements of the desalination process. The specific overall power consumption of the entire new facility is just 3.695kWh/m³, even factoring in the pre-treatment stage – a truly impressive benchmark for such a massive plant.
Ghalilah SWRO, Ras Al Khaimah, UAE
- The Ghalilah plant rewrites the rules for energy consumption at large-scale desalination installations. Aquatech secured the contract to build the plant with an audacious energy performance bid of 3.14kWh/m³. In reality, the plant now operates at under 3kWh/m³, an unprecedented figure for full-scale membrane desalination. It is FEWA’s largest desal plant to date, and sets a new global benchmark for performance in membrane desalination.
- By coupling a game-changing technical design with a highly competitive construction cost of just over $82 million, Aquatech has proved that innovation in desalination does not need to come with a sky-high price tag.
- The operation of the Ghalilah plant takes full account of one of the most hostile feedwater sources around. The design features advanced pre-treatment and monitoring systems to protect against the risk of seasonal red tides, whilst coping with salinity levels as high as 42,000ppm. A veritable all-rounder.
For the project, delivered during 2015, that represents the most significant advancement in terms of water reuse.
AS Samra WWTP expansion, Jordan
- In a country facing an ongoing water crisis due to the massive influx of refugees from Syria, the importance of the As Samra plant cannot be overstated. The expanded plant treats around 70% of the wastewater produced in the entire country, and the treated effluent accounts for a staggering 10% of the entire water supply.
- By easing the burden on farmers in one of the world’s most water-stressed regions, the project allows crucial ground- and surface water resources to be diverted to ease the desperate need for drinking water, both in refugee camps and urban areas of Jordan.
- The project is a model of self-sufficiency and sustainability, even beyond water reuse. Through increased hydro-energy and biogas production from the expansion, the plant now generates an impressive 95% of its own energy needs, resulting in a massive net reduction in carbon emissions, and the generation of 153,000 kWh of green energy every year.
Emaar RO Polishing Plant, Dubai
- An expedited project management process enabled the $10 million plant to be designed and commissioned in an astonishingly short period of six months. Metito had the added challenge of dovetailing the plant into an extremely tight envelope in a multi-storey building, without any interruption to the operation of the adjacent district cooling facilities.
- With some of the most expensive commercial real estate in the Emirates just feet away at all times, a structural stability study was used to identify safe locations through which pipes and cables could be passed in order to integrate the plant into the building’s existing infrastructure. The polished TSE is now used as feedwater for all three of downtown Dubai’s district cooling centres.
- The new recycling facility means that Emaar will not have to draw on expensive desalinated water for its district cooling make-up water needs, reducing costs by 75%, and cutting its carbon footprint by 36.85 tons of CO2 per day. It is testament to the calibre of Metito’s engineering prowess that it was able to bring the plant online under such demanding circumstances – and in record time.
Orange County GWRS Expansion, USA
- With California in the grip of a catastrophic drought, finding new water sources to reduce the state’s reliance on imported water and the overstretched Colorado River has never been more important. Orange County’s groundwater replenishment scheme does this at an unprecedented scale and at a fraction of the cost of desalination, whilst anticipating future statewide legislation on eliminating ocean discharges of treated wastewater.
- The expansion, which came online in 2015, saw the construction of eight new below-grade treatment basins, a new reverse osmosis building, and five additional ultraviolet light (UV) treatment trains. A new equalisation system allows effluent generated during peak flow periods to be scalped and stored nearby for treatment during periods of low flow, enabling the GWRS to operate more efficiently by running at maximum capacity 24/7.
- Orange County’s unique level of engagement with the public has turned the GWRS into a living endorsement of how California is pro-actively addressing its water resourcing crisis. The plant’s popular monthly tours are a vital tool in the battle to overcome public resistance by championing the benefits of reuse in their own back yards.
San Diego Pure Water, USA
- San Diego has historically been dependent on imported water. Despite this, a 1990s plan to reclaim primary effluent for potable reuse purposes met with strong opposition from local citizens, who coined the phrase “toilet-to-tap”. The tenacity of local officials in turning public opinion around is thus all the more remarkable.
- The plant uses a multi-barrier approach to destroy pathogens and bacteria, employing UF/MF membrane filtration systems, reverse osmosis, and advanced oxidation through the application of UV disinfection and hydrogen peroxide. As part of its outreach effort, the city’s Public Utilities Department has opened the pilot facility to the public to demonstrate the safety of the water produced.
- The pilot plant marks a significant step towards San Diego’s dream of achieving water independence, and will also generate valuable data which could help shape the future implementation of direct potable reuse.
For the project, commissioned in 2015, that represents the most impressive technical or environmental achievement in the field of industrial water.
Changxing Power Plant ZLD facility, China
- Stricter emissions and discharge standards in China have forced companies like Huaneng Power to incorporate sophisticated water treatment technologies into their power plant designs. The wastewater treatment plant at the company’s power installation in Changxing uses Oasys’ desalination technology to treat a combined stream of flue gas desulphurisation (FGD) blow-down and cooling tower blow-down wastewater. To meet the discharge limits, all liquid is reused as boiler make-up water. This is the first commercial application of an FO-based ZLD system in China.
- The system was optimised to ensure stability over a wide range of water quality and flow conditions, given the shared draw solution. It can treat flows ranging from 15–26 m³/hour, and water quality of 25,000–40,000 mg/L TDS from the power plant’s wet FGD scrubbers. The high turn-down ratio and wide operating windows were important factors in the selection of Oasys-Woteer’s solution over evaporator-based designs.
- The operation of Changxing’s ZLD system coincides with China’s implementation of a national Water Pollution Action Plan which focuses on industrial wastewater pollution. Changxing’s use of advanced treatment technology meets the new standards, setting a benchmark for future projects aiming for compliance. Oasys and Beijing Woteer have won three subsequent projects based on the successful operation of Changxing.
Dahej Effluent Treatment Plant, India
- Treating a cocktail of PTA process effluent streams including oily water, cooling tower blow-down, demineralisation plant waste, and sanitary wastewater, requires correspondingly complex methods. Employing dissolved air flotation (DAF), an upflow anaerobic sludge blanket (UASB) reactor, a membrane bioreactor (MBR), dual media filters, a heavy metal removal system, a resin bed system, as well as UF and RO membranes, the system removes heavy metals from the wastewater, and subsequently polishes the treated effluent using ion exchange technology.
- This is India’s first large-scale wastewater recycling plant for PTA wastewater. The system boasts an 80% water reclamation rate, with all of the recovered water reused in the PTA process stream. The UASB reactor enables the generation of 34,000 m³/d of biogas providing about 40% savings in heating costs, while the sludge dewatering and drying process allows for nutrient recovery.
- Water recycling is crucial if industry is to thrive in the arid region of Dahej. In treating a locally generated wastewater stream by throwing just about every technology in the book at it, Wabag has achieved stunning results which will help to usher in a new era of sustainability in Indian industry.
Northern WTP, Australia
- The Northern WTP is the biggest of a trio of produced water treatment plants commissioned by QGC to treat saline water produced as part of the coal seam gas extraction process. It uses submerged and pressure ultrafiltration, ion exchange (IX), and three-stage reverse osmosis followed by brine concentration, meaning that only 3% of the influent stream ends up being rejected.
- The plant’s remote location meant that it was imperative to utilise the latest offsite construction techniques in order to streamline the construction process and minimise the impact on the local environment. The pipe racks were manufactured so as to allow a ‘plug and play’ approach using a pre-defined installation sequence, and were trucked in according to carefully timed transport envelopes, eliminating the need for police escorts and pilot vehicles. Meanwhile, three 120-tonne brine concentrators were manufactured offsite in New Zealand before being shipped to Brisbane, trucked to the site, and installed using one of the largest mobile cranes in Australia.
- The debate over coal seam gas produced water has been raging for years in Australia. A practical, pragmatic solution such as this cuts through the rhetoric to the heart of the problem, enhancing QGC’s social licence to operate through its emphasis on responsible treatment and reuse.
Samsung Integrated Water Recycling System, China
- Located in the landlocked northern state of Xi’an, Samsung’s semiconductor facility lacks access to an abundant source of high-grade water for wafer fabrication due to the high calcium content of local surface water sources. Samsung Engineering’s design boasts a water recycling rate of 57%, surpassing the 40% demanded by local regulatory requirements. Wastewater is sent to a recycling plant which applies chemical, biological, UF and RO treatment steps to the less aggressive wastewater streams for reuse in cooling and scrubber systems. A separate treatment plant tackles the “hard-to-treat” effluent, which is than reused for landscaping.
- Samsung Engineering’s design is based on seven segregated wastewater streams, in contrast to other semiconductor plants, which typically feature only two or three segregated wastewater streams. This significantly boosts the reuse rate.
- The company has succeeded in achieving a higher reuse rate than similar facilities elsewhere in China and Korea. The high standard coincides with the Chinese government’s initiative to raise wastewater discharge standards in the industrial sector, while establishing Samsung as an emerging player in the industrial wastewater market.
Agadir SWRO financing, Morocco
Al Hamra SWRO financing, UAE
- As the world’s first ‘private IWP’ – where a private party takes the role of both developer and offtaker – the project marks a major evolution in the way the private water sector interacts with end-users. By allowing the private sector to take a hand in every step of the process – funding, construction, operation, procurement and distribution – Al Hamra has proved that private water can continually lead the way in delivering excellent service.
- The project’s unique structure, free from government dictat, allowed it to incorporate a solar power plant, pushing the envelope in the interconnection of energy and water infrastructure.
- By dealing directly with customers as well as sourcing its own co-developer and contractor, Utico has realised massive synergies in the bureaucracy of water supply, as well as reducing the burden of payments on cash-strapped utilities and water providers in Ras Al Khaimah.
Changi NEWater II
- Chosen as preferred bidder in September 2014, the BEWG-UEL consortium worked at phenomenal speed to finalise the contract and pull together a financing package by January 2015 – running to a tight schedule that will see first water produced in December 2016. Opting to raise 90% of the funding through shareholder loans rather than the more expensive commercial debt market enabled the bidders to deliver a first-year tariff of just S$0.28/m³ (US$0.20/m³).
- Having clinched the contract at a low tariff, optimising operational costs was always going to be of paramount concern. Pitting local electricity retailers against each other in a competitive tender resulted in a fixed power tariff for the first five years of the contract, providing a vital buffer against price fluctuations.
- As the first water PPP in Singapore to be led by a foreign company, Changi NEWater II is testament to the rise of China as a global power in the water industry. The enthusiastic reception for BEWG’s $251 million syndicated loan in 2015 means that the project company now has a web of international finance partners at its fingertips. This will prove vital when it comes to refinancing the project’s debt at more attractive margins once the construction risk has been eliminated.
KKIA potable water financing, Saudi Arabia
- This was the first PPP transaction undertaken by GACA where non-recourse financing was raised without the need for direct support or sovereign guarantee for payment security from the Saudi Ministry of Finance. The growing independence and strengthening of Saudi public companies frees up national funding resources to be used in other areas.
- The trailblazing first-of-its-kind deal paves the way for the further privatisation of utilities at airports and many other sectors in the Kingdom, strengthening the role of the private sector and allowing an alternative route for investment in services at a time when national budgets in the region are coming under increasing strain due to low oil prices.
- The financial wizardry which allowed the seamless transfer of existing assets and their incorporation into the new-build contract structure allowed the project to be undertaken with no interruption to services at one of the busiest and most important entry points to Saudi Arabia.
For the most dramatic performance improvement in a water utility in the developing world in 2015.
National Water and Sewerage Authority (NAWASA), Grenada
- NAWASA’s unique customer outreach campaign took the form of a televised gameshow, ‘Water Warz’, fashioned after the show ‘Jeopardy!’ and designed to test students’ knowledge of water facts and myths, including climate change and water sustainability. The programme was launched in conjunction with World Water Day 2015.
- The first series, in June 2015, saw fierce competition between eleven participating schools over three rounds of competition. The grand finale was broadcast live on local television, while each episode has since been uploaded to YouTube. The decision to push water issues on the national entertainment stage has given the topics of water and wastewater management prominence in the national media and has effectively tapped into the youth demographic.
- As the world’s utilities search for more cutting-edge methods of engaging with the public, NAWASA has found a brilliant new way to mobilise mass media, while still maintaining a close connection with the community.
PDAM Kota Malang, Indonesia
- Over the past year, PDAM Kota Malang has broken new ground in the Indonesian water sector by implementing a new mobile application to dramatically improve the effectiveness of its billing process. The technology factors in traffic volumes and the length of time needed to find each customer’s address, leading to a significant increase in staff efficiency and an expedited bill collection process.
- Implementing this new technology has addressed a major informational and technical deficit head-on, resulting in major financial gains which have stabilised the utility’s operations.
- The utility reduced non-revenue water from 22% to 19%, boosted service coverage by 5%, and reduced the staff to connection ratio to drive efficiency, proving that utility reform can be achieved without compromising on the quality of service.
Rand Water, South Africa
- The outstanding performance of Rand Water over the past year has driven forward the social and economic goals of the nation for its customer base of 11 million people. Improvements in water quality support the health and wellbeing of its customers, helping to boost customer satisfaction to 93%.
- The utility has parlayed its organisational strength into becoming a major presence in the community, increasing its spend on the national Broad-Based Black Economic Empowerment social programme in 2015, as well as increasing its revenue by 13%. It exceeded its target for job creation, adding more than 200 staff, ably demonstrating the social payoff that strong utilities can bring back to the community.
- Rand Water has also performed strongly on the operational side. It beat its own ambitious non-revenue water target, and maintained 100% performance on the provision of 24/7 water supply, while refusing to compromise on its strict governance standards.
Water and Sanitation Corporation, Rwanda
- The fastest ever performance improvement programme in 2ML Consulting’s utility transformation history was completed successfully by WASAC. Originally famous for its 100-day turnaround programme, 2ML worked with WASAC and the Ministry of Infrastructure to reduce the time period to a staggeringly fast 90 days. Although the performance improvement programme was shorter than usual, WASAC’s efforts produced truly dramatic results.
- At the end of the programme in December 2015, revenue had almost doubled, while billing efficiency reached 100%. Also, the non-revenue water (NRW) indicator showed an improvement of 3.4% on the baseline, and the utility’s cash operating margin improved by 174%, from a deficit of RWF136 million ($180,000) to a surplus of 374 million Rwandan Francs.
- WASAC has shown utilities around the world that the only limits to the speed and success of utility turnarounds are the commitment of the organisation’s leadership and management. The turnaround comes at the same time as a major PPP breakthrough for WASAC, enabling the utility to position itself at the forefront of water development in sub-Saharan Africa.