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Global Water Awards 2017 Madrid, Spain | 24 April

 

2012 Awards Shortlist & Winners

2017 Global Water Awards | Madrid, Spain | 24 April
The shortlisted entries for the 2012 Global Water Awards are as follows:
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Desalination Company of the Year
Desalination Plant of the Year
Industrial Water Project of the Year
Public Water Agency of the Year
Water Deal of the Year
Water Reuse Project of the Year
Water Technology Company of the Year
Water Company of the year Award
 

Desalination company of the Year

For the desalination plant supplier which has made the greatest overall contribution to the desalination industry in 2011.

Winner: GE Water & Process Technologies
What is it?
The water technology subsidiary of General Electric, housed within the GE Power & Water division.
 
What has it done?
After buying Ionics in 2005, the industrial giant seemed to spend years struggling to find a way of engaging with the desalination industry. Last year, however, everything finally seemed to come together. Putting its imagination to work, the company established itself as the dominant technology supplier in two of the fastest growing market niches: industrial wastewater evaporation for the oil and gas market, and containerised modular desalination plants available for rapid deployment.
 
What makes it special?
  • Over the space of a year, GE Water’s evaporation business secured five projects recycling water from the Canadian oil sands. This is the kind of tough environmental challenge that the company’s Ecomagination initiative was designed to address, and its success is undoubtedly a triple win: for GE’s customers, for GE itself and for the delicate environment of Northern Canada.
  • Customers for small to medium-sized desalination plants were once tied to poorly performing assets which never quite met their needs. Then GE developed its modular containerised desalination plants, revolutionising that sector of the market. It brought together cutting-edge technology, lean manufacturing, innovative ownership models and short lead times to deliver a knock-out proposition which was allconquering in 2011.
  • Whether it is lowering the operating pH for its industrial wastewater evaporators, using its UF technology for seawater pretreatment, or investing in proprietary energy recovery systems, GE Water has been quietly pushing the frontiers of technology to meet the needs of its core industrial customers.
Distinction: Doosan
What is it?
Doosan Heavy Industries and Construction is a division of South Korean conglomerate Doosan Corporation. It is involved in a range of industry sectors from power generation to construction, as well as desalination and water treatment.
 
What has it done?
2011 was another barnstorming year for Doosan in the Gulf. The company dramatically scaled up its MED backlog, bagging projects to supply Saudi Arabia’s Saline Water Conversion Corporation with a 68,190m3/d unit for the Yanbu Power plant, and for a 54,552m3/d twounit plant for Marafiq – and all the while commissioning one of the largest ever MSF plants, the 459,146m3/d Shuweihat 2 project in the UAE. Meanwhile, its membrane arm Doosan Hydro continued its foray into the North American RO market with the commissioning of a 4,353m3/d BWRO plant for Bayonne Energy Centre in New Jersey.
 
What makes it special?
  • Shuweihat 2 was the largest desalination plant to be commissioned anywhere in the world in 2011, while its auxiliary load consumption of less than 3.9kWh/m3 is the lowest of any MSF installation to date. It underlines Doosan’s commanding position in the MSF market, and proves that it has effectively wrestled the initiative away from former top dog Fisia.
  • Doosan pulled off a stunning coup with a direct award from SWCC for the Yanbu plant – the company had never built an MED unit even one tenth that size before. The fact that this was quickly followed up with a second large MED win at Marafiq was an impressive display of chutzpah, underscoring confidence in the outlook for large-scale thermal projects.
  • Not content with its achievements in the Gulf thermal market, Doosan continues to make progress with large-scale RO projects, commissioning the 136,260m3/d Shuwaikh SWRO facility in Kuwait last year.
 
Osmoflo
What is it?
An Australian membrane specialist providing desalination solutions to industrial clients. It is 40% owned by Marubeni.
 
What has it done?
Over the last 12 months, the company has extended its reach in both the SWRO and produced water treatment segments in Australia, and expanded into new international markets. It won a six-year contract to operate a 2,000m3/d RO plant serving the El Tesoro copper mine in Chile, and secured a hat-trick of contracts to supply 11,200m3/d of capacity for the Wheatstone LNG complex in Western Australia.
 
What makes it special?
  • The partnership with Marubeni has proved to be an inspired move, providing access to the burgeoning mining market in Latin America, where Marubeni has significant interests. Osmoflo’s first O&M contract in Chile – won last year in the face of intense competition from more established players – is only the tip of the iceberg, while its remote plant operating expertise greatly enhances the value proposition.
  • The Wheatstone complex is one of the biggest resource projects in Australia, and success there is a ringing endorsement of Osmoflo’s industrial expertise, building on the success of a previous contract serving the Gorgon project. It showcases Osmoflo’s flexible approach to working with its customers – two of the plants are being purchased outright, while a third is being provided under a 12-month rental agreement.
  • Osmoflo’s leading position in the desalination segment for coal seam gas water was reinforced in February 2011 with the commissioning of a unique 1,500m3/d containerised plant. The RO facility can be decommissioned from one site, relocated and be fully operational again within five working days, giving client Santos the flexibility to move the unit between produced water storage dams to maximise well operation across a large area. With the produced water treatment market in Australia expected to grow exponentially, the ability to furnish flexible solutions will have CSG producers beating a path to Osmoflo’s door.
 
Valoriza Agua
What is it?
The water services division of Spanish construction and property development group Sacyr Vallehermoso.
 
What has it done?
Valoriza cemented its place among the rapidly rising stars of the desal firmament in 2011, breaking new ground in more ways than one. Having commissioned the first phase of the landmark Southern Seawater Desalination Plant (SSDP) in Australia, the company successfully negotiated its way to financial close on the 320,000m3/d SWRO plant at Ashdod, finally putting spade to earth at the site in October.
 
What makes it special?
  • The awarding of the SSDP back in 2008 put Valoriza on the international desalting map for the first time. The successful commissioning of the 140,000m3/d plant last August means that a map is no longer required – Valoriza has well and truly arrived. Client Water Corp was so convinced, it immediately awarded a contract to double the size of the plant to 280,000m3/d.
  • The awarding of a 12,000m3/d SWRO pant in Mantoverde, Chile last year marked the company’s entry into the lucrative mining market in Latin America.
  • When it wasn’t taking large bites out of the market share of industry behemoths, Valoriza spent the last 12 months developing its global reach in other ways, opening two new international offices and supporting the R&D initiatives being undertaken at the Australian National Centre of Excellence in Desalination. This demonstrates the company’s commitment not just to building market share, but to advancing the interests of the industry as a whole. 
 


Desalination plant of the Year

For the desalination plant commissioned during 2011 that represents the most impressive technical achievement in the industry.

Winner: Southern Seawater Desalination Plant, Australia
What is it?
The second large-scale SWRO desalination plant to be built in Perth, Western Australia, with a total contracted capacity of 280,000m3/d. The first 140,000m3/d phase was commissioned in August 2011.
 
Who is responsible?
Phase one of the plant was built for client Water Corporation by the Southern Seawater Alliance, a consortium of Técnicas Reunidas, Valoriza Agua, AJ Lucas, WorleyParsons and Water Corporation. The same consortium is currently building the second phase, which will bring the capacity up to the full 280,000m3/d. Dow provided the RO membranes, with UF membranes supplied by Siemens Memcor. The energy recovery devices were furnished by Energy Recovery Inc.
 
What makes it special?
  • Going from initial concept to producing first water in four years, the plant was ordered to be doubled in size before it was even finished, a testament to the inspiration and dedication of the project team. The SSDP represents a milestone in terms of drought-proofing Western Australia, satisfying 17% of the water demand of 1.6 million people in one of most isolated and climate-vulnerable cities in the world. 
  • Construction was carried out with an absolute minimum of environmental impact – the bulk of the facility is housed in a disused limestone quarry, with tunnelling methods rather than blasting being used to construct the marine pipelines, thus minimising the impact on the coastal dune system, and keeping the neighbouring beach open for recreational activities during construction. An 8-metre-high vegetated berm will reduce noise pollution and provide a visual screen to the east and south of the plant site.
  • The plant is 100% powered by renewable energy, showing that the client and its team on the ground were willing to work together to enhance the reputation of the desalination industry as a whole. It is a glimpse of what all plants will one day look like.
 
Distinction: Fujairah 2, UAE
What is it?
A hybrid desalination complex, commissioned in January 2011, which combines a 2,000MW power generating station with a 454,200m3/d MED plant and an SWRO plant with a capacity of 136,000m3/d.
 
Who is responsible?
International Power and Marubeni developed the project in consortium with the client, Abu Dhabi Water and Electricity Authority (ADWEA). The EPC contract was awarded to an Alstom-led consortium, with Sidem (Veolia) supplying the MED plant and OTV (Veolia) providing the SWRO. Toray supplied the RO membranes, with Flowserve Calder provided the energy recovery devices.
 
What makes it special?
  • Power demand fluctuates wildly from season to season in the UAE, while water demand is more consistent. Fujairah 2 uses an elegant balance of MED and SWRO technologies to consistently provide the largest output, at the lowest energy cost, of any hybrid desal plant anywhere in the world.
  • The plant was one of the first working facilities of its scale in the region to use a Dissolved Air Flotation (DAF) pretreatment system for the SWRO phase, vital in dealing with harmful algal bloom (HAB) events. During February 2011, the newly commissioned plant maintained its production capacity during a severe algal bloom which forced neighbouring desal plants to shut down or reduce their throughput – a credit to the resilience and ingenuity of its design.
  • At 38,640m3/d (8.5MIGD) each, Fujairah 2 has the largest MED units of any desal plant commissioned thus far, showing that in the right hands, even the most mature desalination technology can be pushed to new limits.
 
Ad Dur IWPP, Bahrain
What is it?
Bahrain’s flagship seawater reverse osmosis desalination plant, an independent water and power project with a capacity of 218,208m3/d and 1,234MW of power production.
 
Who is responsible?
The project was developed by a consortium of International Power (formerly GdF Suez Energy International), Gulf Investment Corporation, Capital Management House, Instrata Capital and GOSI. Degrémont was the EPC contractor for the desalination plant, and Hyundai Heavy Industries for the power element. Toray supplied the RO membranes.
 
What makes it special?
  • Ad Dur is the largest SWRO plant drawing water from the Gulf. It is a potent symbol of the acceptance of reverse osmosis as a credible desalination technology in the region, helping to overturn old orthodoxies.
  • As only the second IWPP built by the GCC countries without any thermal component, after Barka II in Oman, the project has fought against the odds to prove that RO technology, allied with robust pretreatment, can enable reliable, flexible delivery of water at a reasonable price.
  • The plant’s success rights a historic wrong; the failure of SWRO technology to take off in the Gulf is often laid at the door of the troubled original Ad Dur plant built in 1990. The new facility meets a vital need not only for the people of Bahrain, but for membrane desalination, putting it back on a path for growth in the region.
 
Souk Tleta, Algeria
What is it?
A 200,000m3/d seawater reverse osmosis plant built in Souk Tleta in the wilaya of Tlemcen in Algeria.
 
Who is responsible?
A joint venture of Hyflux, Malakoff Berhad and the Algerian Energy Company developed the project for Algérienne Des Eaux, with Hyflux subsidiaries taking on the EPC work. The RO membranes came from Hydranautics, while Hyflux supplied its own UF membranes. Energy Recovery Inc. supplied the energy recovery devices. ILF Consulting Engineers provided technical advisory services.
 
What makes it special?
  • At 450,000m3/d, one of the largest UF installations serving an SWRO desalination plant in the world enables Souk Tleta to produce water of a consistently high quality, despite the challenge of wide fluctuations in seawater turbidity, which can spike up to 100 NTU.
  • The shrewdness of design in the reverse osmosis system not only enables minimal use of chemical dosing – including sodium hydroxide dosing to meet the product water boron specifications – but eliminates the need for coagulants.
  • Building and successfully commissioning desalination plants in Algeria has been no picnic. In a challenging environment and against the background of regional instability from the Arab Spring, Hyflux has shown considerable tenacity and mettle in making the project work.
 

Industrial Water Project of the Year

For the project commissioned in 2011 that represents the most impressive technical achievement in the field of industrial water.

Winner: Pearl GTL, Qatar
What is it?
A zero-liquid discharge WWTP treating 45,000m3/d of industrial effluent produced at the world’s largest gas-to-liquids complex. Effluent is treated to a very high standard using pretreatment, oil separation, biological processes and then UF and RO membrane treatment, in conjunction with evaporation and condensation of the RO brine to complete a full-cycle industrial water recycling process.
 
Who is responsible?
The plant was designed and built by a consortium comprising a Veolia Water/ Saipem JV and local construction firm Al Jaber, on behalf of the clients, Qatar Petroleum and Shell. Membranes were supplied by GE Zenon (UF) and Toray (RO).
 
What makes it special?
  • Veolia applied the full scope of its water technology expertise to the project, which features a panoply of treatment technologies to achieve the level of purity required to reinject tainted synthetic water back into the industrial process. The combination of pre-treatment, flotation, wax filtration, oil separation, bio-treatment, UF, RO plus brine concentration and evaporation makes this a truly unique plant in terms of its capabilities.
  • Even for a company with the size and experience of Veolia, a zero-liquid discharge plant of this scale and complexity was a huge challenge to design and build. The project, costing in the region of $640 million, sets a new standard for the aspirations of the industrial wastewater treatment market.
  • The challenge of designing and commissioning the plant was further compounded by the extreme size and complexity of the GTL plant. With a liquids capacity of 140,000 bpd, the sheer dimensions of the GTL complex meant that even Shell and QP were pushing new boundaries. As a result, the project had to be adapted as the client changed specifications during the design phase. Despite this, the construction team achieved a timely commissioning and a smooth initial operating period.
 
Distinction: Cartagena Refinery Demineralisation Plant, Spain
What is it?
A 12,600m3/d brackish water reverse osmosis plant, plus an ion exchange treatment plant, forming part of the €3 billion Cartagena Refinery expansion project, the largest industrial project in Spanish history. The project was commissioned in August 2011.
 
Who is responsible?
The design and engineering were carried out by Sadyt (Sacyr Vallehermoso). The work was carried out on behalf of the client and site owner Repsol YPF. The RO membranes were from TriSep and the ion exchange technology by Purolite.
 
What makes it special?
  • The plant triumphed over a number of wastewater treatment challenges, responding to calls for a zero-discharge concept, and taking feedwater from a number of different sources. Following treatment, no water is discharged to the environment, while the brine is continuously concentrated and then redirected to an existing high salinity effluent treatment plant.
  • Any interruption in the demineralised water supply to the refinery complex would mean losses of hundreds of thousands of Euros a day, meaning the plant design required faultless reliability along with adherence to unsparingly strict environmental standards.
  • Few wastewater treatment projects have been built on such a busy site – Sadyt’s team had to dovetail its activities with another 6,500 workers on the refinery site at its peak. The plant was delivered on time, and with a professionalism of execution that is nothing less than outstanding.
 
AEP bioreactor system, USA
What is it?
A 600 gallons-per-minute (3,270m3/d) biological treatment unit tailored to eliminate toxic selenium deposits from the wastewater outflow at the Mountaineer coal-fueled power plant in New Haven, Connecticut, through the use of an innovative molasses-fed microbial treatment system.
 
Who is responsible?
The plant was installed by Bowen Engineering for the client, American Electric Power (AEP). Bowen subcontracted GE to supply and install its proprietory bioreactor technology. HDR Engineering and River Consulting carried out further engineering work.
 
What makes it special?
  • The plant is the boldest demonstration to date of the benefits of using biological wastewater treatment techniques to solve the hazardous problems of selenium in wastewater, making it possible for AEP to meet exacting federal emissions regulations, while also cutting the potential of damage to the environment in a sustainable way.
  • GE’s proprietary nutrient-fed microbe system offers vastly improved performance over exisiting chemical-based treatment methods, guaranteeing an elimination rate of more than 99% of selenium. The rapid rate of the removal process means it can compete effectively with the high blowdown volumes associated with flue gas desulphurisation (FGD) systems.
  • The utilisation of a biological technique makes the plant self-sustaining, as it only requires periodical addition of the nutrient. Monthly backwashes can carry biomass and removed elemental selenium to clarifiers for safe disposal in landfill.
 
Gippsland Water Factory, Australia
What is it?
An innovative wastewater recycling plant combining the treatment of municipal effluent from 55,000 people in nine towns, and up to 35,000m3/d of industrial wastewater from a local paper mill. 8,000m3/d of high-quality recycled water is sold back to the paper industry, easing pressure on local fresh water sources.
 
Who is responsible?
The project was designed, constructed and commissioned by the Gippsland Water Factory Project Alliance, a partnership comprising local utility Gippsland Water and three private companies: Transfield Services, CH2M Hill and Parsons Brinckerhoff.
 
What makes it special?
  • The project proves demonstrably that the treatment of municipal and industrial wastewater flows can be combined in a single facility, despite the disruptive effects of the high-strength, nutrient-poor outflow from the paper mill. While the two liquid process trains are separate, sludge from the two is combined and either sold as fertiliser, or used to generate biogas, a process that supplies 20% of the energy requirements of the plant.
  • A revolutionary partial oxidation step breaks new ground in the treatment of high-sulphide wastewater streams, while minimising the use of electric power, chemicals and artificial nutrients. Meanwhile, innovative chlorine removal satisfies conflicting federal and state advice on post-treatment measures prior to disposal.
  • As the first project in Australia to use membrane bioreactor technology in the production of recycled water, Gippsland was a guinea-pig for the Victorian Department of Health to develop its new recycled water quality management guidelines, providing inspiration for the future of water reuse in Australia.
 

Public water agency of the Year

For the public sector organisation that has made the greatest contribution to meeting the challenges of water supply during 2011.

Winner: SA Water, Australia
What is it?
The government-owned utility responsible for managing water and wastewater services for around 1.5 million people in the state of South Australia.
 
What has it done?
The last year has seen SA Water reap the benefits of a large-scale targeted capital spending spree. Combined with an effective anti-wastage campaign, and an overhaul in operating efficiencies – with the help of a new private partner – SA Water has turned around its water usage figures at a time when the state is recovering from a prolonged and serious drought.
 
What makes it special?
  • Water from the 300,000m3/d Adelaide desalination plant was delivered for the first time to the state capital in 2011. SA Water’s quick-fire decision to double the plant’s capacity means that it will now supply enough water to provide half the city’s potable water requirements, reducing the demand for water from the overstretched Murray River.
  • SA Water also invested heavily in infrastructure and operations last year. Work started on a transmission project to allow two previously separate regions of Adelaide to co-ordinate water supply. At the same time, water recycling plans were extended through a scheme to supply 8,000 homes with reused water. SA Water also strengthened its operations and management ability through judicious engagement with the private sector.
  • 2011 saw the culmination of SA Water’s outreach efforts in drought water management, community education and enforcement that led to a reduction in water use of around 25% over an eight-year period. The initiative helped reinforce the public’s awareness that a sustainable reduction in water consumption is a vital tool in the face of increasingly unpredictable weather patterns.
 
Distinction: National Water Company, Saudi Arabia
What is it?
A government-owned joint stock company providing water and wastewater services in Saudi Arabia.
 
What has it done?
In 2011, NWC invested heavily in its asset base, carrying out work on a number of significant projects to improve wastewater services to needy areas of the country. It also explored new energy-saving technologies, while improving customer service and moving closer to its goal of financial selfsufficiency.
 
What makes it special?
  • At the end of 2011, the first households were connected to the massive Jeddah wastewater network – a hugely ambitious sewage collection, transmission and treatment project that was one of a total of 66 wastewater projects commissioned in the Kingdom in 2011. NWC invested SAR4.3 billion ($1.2 billion) in wastewater infrastructure alone last year.
  • The company had its most successful year to date in terms of signing contracts to sell treated sewage effluent. It now holds long-term contracts worth more than SAR4 billion ($1 billion), and the income means NWC’s goal of financial self-sufficiency is closer than ever, paving the way for a longplanned privatisation of the wastewater business.
  • On the water supply side, NWC made its first tentative steps towards tariff reform – a key stumbling block to growth in a country where water is retailed out at the equivalent of just $0.03/m3. NWC’s vision for reform demonstrates that it is not only prepared to spend money up front, but that it is fully engaged in creating a sustainable future for the Saudi Arabian water sector.
 
Abu Dhabi Sewerage Services Company
What is it?
A state-owned body established in 2005 to collect and treat wastewater in the emirate of Abu Dhabi. It was originally part of the Abu Dhabi Water and Electricity Authority, becoming independent in 2009.
 
What has it done?
ADSSC’s five-year, AED23 billion ($6.26 billion) strategic spending plan reached its apogee in 2011, ushering in improvements to treatment capacity and network quality, and achieving a reduction in energy usage through the switch to a main gravity-driven trunk sewer. The ultra-modern sewerage network means that despite the emirate’s huge demographic challenges, the system in its current form will be capable of handling wastewater flows for the best part of a century.
 
What makes it special?
  • ADSSC extended its successful working relationship with the private sector in 2011, with the commissioning of two major wastewater treatment BOTs in Abu Dhabi city and Al Ain. On the operations and maintenance side, three contracts were awarded in the last year, covering almost the entire publicly owned network. A switch to targeted performance-based contracts rewards excellent performance while ensuring value for money for the client.
  • Spending on the massive Strategic Tunnel Enhancement Programme, which reached its height in 2011 with the award of three of the six contracts involved, will improve performance in the wastewater collection network. The switch to a deeptunnel gravity-driven system has already allowed the decommissioning of 36 major pumping stations, dramatically reducing costs and energy usage by ADSSC.
  • While sewage treatment levels are already at 100% in Abu Dhabi, the demand for irrigated water has not succeeded in matching the rise in treated effluent flows as a result of a rising population. ADSSC is addressing this by identifying new industrial and commercial customers for treated sewage effluent, potentially bringing in new high-value sources of revenue, and reducing run-off into the marine environment.
 
Korea Water Resources Corporation (K-Water)
What is it?
A state-owned corporation established in Korea in 1967 to control water supply from dams and rivers, and manage the bulk supply of water to local governments and industries. It has also taken over the operation of some local water and wastewater treatment plants through a municipal concession model.
 
What has it done?
A massive investment into K-Water’s extensive asset base bore fruit in 2011, as huge improvements in river water quality and water treatment capacity led to a vastly improved surface water supply. The further expansion of its concessions business also put the corporation in a sound financial position to pursue its ambitious international aspirations.
 
What makes it special?
  • The Four Major Rivers Restoration Project, completed in 2011, is a $20 billion mega-plan which saw the dredging of nearly 1,000km of the Han, Nakdong, Geum and Yeongsan Rivers, along with dambuilding, wetland restoration and riverbank reinforcement. The improved flow through the country’s river system frees up more water for supply to towns and cities, and reduces the risk of devastating floods.
  • The construction of the world’s largest tidal power plant significantly reduces the energy use associated with the production of potable water in Korea. The Sihwa Lake Tidal Power Station cost a total of $500 million over its 6-year construction period, and generates 254MW of clean energy – the equivalent of a 315,000m3 a year reduction in CO2 emissions.
  • Five water treatment plants were brought up to five-star level under the American Water Works Association certification scheme in 2011, while three new WTPs were constructed. Nine of the 12 water districts in the country have now been upgraded under the $1.5 billion scheme.
 

Water Deal of the Year

For the deal, contracted in 2011, which has made the biggest contribution to the advancement of public-private partnerships in the international water sector.

Winner: El Realito, Mexico
What is it?
A $214.8 million finance package to fund the El Realito Aqueduct project in Mexico. The infrastructure includes a 86,400m3/d water treatment plant, three pumping stations and a 132km-long aqueduct. The deal reached financial close in July 2011.
 
Who is responsible?
Banco Santander (México), S.A. teamed up with domestic banking institutions Banobras, Banorte and Banco del Bajío to provide $97 million of senior debt via an 18-year loan, paying an initial margin of 2.75% over the local interbank rate. The project company, Aquos El Realito S.A. de C.V. (51% owned by ICA and 49% by aqualia) provided 25% of the project cost in equity. FONADIN, Mexico’s national infrastructure fund, contributed the remaining $74 million of the project cost by way of a grant. ICA and aqualia are acting as EPC contractors.
 
What makes it special?
  • It is the first time that a privately funded Mexican water project has featured a tailored cashflow waterfall system involving three different trusts. This provides an extra level of financial security to both the public and the private partners, and will act as a blueprint for future Mexican water BOTs.
  • The complexity of the financing itself was compounded by the sheer number of stakeholders involved. Despite this, the key parties skilfully negotiated their way to financial close, barely pausing for breath even when the ruling state government changed midway through the financing talks.
  • The investment portion of the tariffs will be covered by the state government through a payroll tax, while the operational part of the tariff will be paid with the earnings from a water supply contract with Interapas, the water utility serving the Mexican city of San Luis Potosí. A $4 million credit line extended by Banorte provides extra comfort in the case of a tariff shortfall.
Distinction: Mundaring, Australia
What is it?
An A$300 million (US$305 million) financing package to support the construction of the 165,000m3/d Mundaring water treatment plant in Western Australia. The plant’s capacity is expandable to 240,000m3/d.
 
Who is responsible?
The seven-year club loan which formed 85% of the financing package was provided by BTMU, BBVA, BNP Paribas and WestLB. The 15% equity portion was split amongst Acciona Agua (25.05%), Trility (25.05%) and Lloyds TSB’s infrastructure fund Uberior Investments (49.9%). RBS acted a financial adviser to the winning Helena Water consortium which will construct and operate the plant for a period of 35 years.
 
What makes it special?
  • The Mundaring financing was a significant procurement milestone for the Water Corporation, marking the first privately financed water project ever undertaken in Western Australia.
  • The increased refinancing risk inherent in the short-term debt package was overshadowed by the client’s commendably pragmatic approach in negotiating realistic terms in the wake of the financial crisis.
  • The deal was closed within five months of the preferred bidder being selected, and has clear potential to act as a blueprint for the procurement of future greenfield water assets in Western Australia.
 
Muharraq WWTP financing
What is it?
A $250 million debt package arranged to fund the 160,000m3/d Muharraq sewage treatment project in Bahrain, the first – and so far only – water/wastewater PPP to reach financial close in the Middle East since the beginning of the Arab Spring.
 
Who is responsible?
Debt funding for the package was provided by Export-Import Bank of Korea (Kexim), along with private sector partners Natixis, Crédit Agricole and SMBC. Macquarie acted as financial adviser to the developing consortium (Samsung Engineering, Invest Abu Dhabi and United Utilities), while HSBC provided financial advice to the client, Bahrain’s Ministry of Works.
 
What makes it special?
  • With financing documents signed less than two months after the lifting of Bahrain’s State of National Safety, the deal proved that private finance is still a serious and viable option for building infrastructure at a time when the financial and political climate in the Middle East is seen as more hostile to lenders than at any point in recent history. The move provided a much-needed boost to a moribund regional project finance market.
  • Pricing on the 22-year loan was negotiated in the mid-200s over Libor, comparable to what would have been expected before the financial crisis and the Arab Spring. The pricing will act as a benchmark for future BOTs in the region.
  • Innovative use of export credit turned a very tricky financial prospect into an unqualified success. As well as providing a significant lump of direct funding, the Export-Import Bank of Korea backed part of the commercial tranche, soothing the fears of investors during a difficult financial period.
 
Soreq, Israel
What is it?
A $500 million long-term non-recourse financing package to fund the development of the world’s largest reverse osmosis desalination plant at Soreq in Israel.
 
Who is responsible?
Israeli financial institutions Bank Hapoalim and Bank Leumi put up NIS600 million ($200 million) of debt funding, with a further $200 million (€142 million) coming in the form of a 22-year €-dominated loan from the European Investment Bank (EIB). The developer consortium, a joint venture of IDE Technologies (51%) and Hutchison Water (49%), is putting up $100 million of equity, and also negotiated an equity bridge facility, a standby facility and a working capital facility.
 
What makes it special?
  • It is the first time since Ashkelon in 2003 that the financing for a major desalination project in Israel has featured a local currency tranche. When the project went out to bid, international banks lacked the capacity to extend competitive long-term finance, and the engagement of local players not only resulted in significant savings in terms of debt service, but will minimise refinancing risk going forward.
  • The developer consortium took advantage of low short-term interest rates to reduce financing costs during the initial concession period. Bank Hapoalim and Bank Leumi will have the option to syndicate out the shekel-denominated portion of the loan when the short-term loans are replaced by long-term debt linked to Israeli inflation early in the operating period.
  • Plans to co-locate an independent power plant at the Soreq site gave the desal financing a unique risk profile. The parties are to be congratulated on successfully negotiating the power and water risks, whilst keeping the desal financing on a limited recourse basis.
 

Water Reuse Project of the Year

For the water reuse project that represents the most significant achievement for the industry in 2011.

Winner: Brightwater WWTP, USA 
What is it?
A wastewater treatment plant incorporating the largest membrane bioreactor (MBR) installation in the US to treat wastewater from 189,000 people in King and Snohomish counties in Washington State. The facility has an initial peak flow of 495,000m3/d, which will rise to 645,000m3/d by 2040. A large proportion of the treated water is reused for irrigation and industrial purposes.
 
Who is responsible?
The plant is owned and operated by King County, Washington. CH2M Hill was the prime design engineer, while CDM Smith acted as construction manager. Hoffman Construction and Kiewit Pacific were the main contractors on construction. The MBR unit incorporates GE’s ZeeWeed technology.
 
What makes it special?
  • Brightwater offers ample evidence of how membrane bioreactors have become the technology of choice when it comes to major municipal wastewater treatment plants. ZeeWeed has come to dominate the world of MBR wastewater treatment, and the Brightwater installation is the largest MBR reference in the world to date.
  • The plant employs a unique split-flow treatment system, with the MBR units treating 98% of the annual flow, while a parallel chemically enhanced primary clarification (CEPC) process is able to handle further capacity in peak wet weather flows. The two-stream process comfortably accommodates the extreme wet weather of the US Northwest.
  • The project provides a new benchmark in sustainable planning and resource management in the US. The treated water distribution system was integrated with outflow tunnelling to reduce the project’s footprint. The use of advanced automation, process containment and an automated restart function following power outages means it can be operated remotely.
Distinction: SAFI RO plant, Ajman, UAE
What is it?
A 6,000m3/d reverse osmosis plant and MF pretreatment unit treating the outflow from the existing Ajman sewage treatment plant. The polished water is sold on a commercial basis to local offtakers, with uses including district cooling..
 
Who is responsible?
The plant is owned by a public-private partnership between the Government of Ajman and Belgian firm Besix. The contract is an extension of the wastewater concession that covers the main WWTP in Ajman. Membranes for the plant were supplied by Hydranautics (RO) and Pall Corp (MF). 
 
What makes it special?
  • The plant is a trailblazer for the commercial sale and reuse of treated water in the Middle East, ranking as the first privately owned reverse osmosis plant to treat wastewater for use by private companies. It proves that serious improvements can be made to wastewater assets without recourse to direct subsidy from central bodies.
  • The plant will operate on a full cost recovery basis, with both capital and operating budgets covered by the income from selling polished water – a positive sign in a region where water subsidies have made sustainable investment in assets difficult. Plans are already in place to extend the franchise with similar plants elsewhere.
  • Customers were easy to find for the polished water, with membrane-treated TSE offering a cheaper alternative to desalinated water for industrial customers. The involvement of the private sector gives a guarantee on treatment quality, and a commercial contract agreement provides extra reassurance for buyers.
 
Marrakech WWTP, Morocco
What is it?
A 110,000m3/d wastewater treatment plant serving the city of Marrakech in Morocco, treating wastewater from the city’s 1.1 million inhabitants. The plant is North Africa’s first integrated WWTP, featuring energy generation through sludge treatment and biogas recovery. Treated water is reused for landscaping and agriculture.
 
Who is responsible?
The plant was constructed and is now owned and operated by Belgian firm Waterleau, under a 10-year BOT contract with Radeema, the public water agency for Marrakech. Civil works were carried out by Moroccan firm Sotradema and Portuguese company Eusebios.
 
What makes it special?
  • As recently as 2005, Morocco treated just 10% of its municipal effluent, with an estimated 2,000 hectares of agricultural land being irrigated with raw sewage. The installation of the Marrakech plant brings wastewater treatment penetration in Morocco’s fourth-largest city up to 100%, easing the serious problem of pollution in the city’s waterways.
  • The project was the first integrated WWTP in the country to combine wastewater and sludge treatment with biogas recovery for electricity and heat cogeneration. The cogeneration unit provides up to 60% of the plant’s energy needs, reducing its carbon footprint – and demand on the country’s already-stretched electricity grid.
  • The successful procurement and construction of the plant – which started treating wastewater in December 2011 – made significant progress towards attaining Morocco’s national target of 60% effluent treatment by 2020, and provide a blueprint for other projects in the region. 
 
Old Ford Water Recycling Plant, UK
What is it?
The UK’s largest water recycling plant to date, commissioned by the London 2012 Olympic Delivery Authority (ODA) in order to meet its target of a 40% reduction in potable water consumption during the Games. The plant treats 574m3/d of wastewater from London’s 19th-century northern outfall sewer, using membrane bioreactor technology. Treated water is sold back at commercial rates to the ODA to supplant potable water used in landscaping and toilet flushing.
 
Who is responsible?
Thames Water developed the plant under a seven-year build-own-operate contract with the Olympic Park Legacy Company. It was designed and funded with the collaboration of the ODA. EPC work was carried out by Black & Veatch, while the membrane bioreactor units were supplied by Siemens Memcor.
 
What makes it special?
  • As the largest WRP built in the UK to date, the plant will serve as a benchmark for future water recycling plants in the increasingly water-scarce south of England. Once the Olympic Games have finished, the site could provide the first full-scale test of wastewater reuse for non-potable domestic purposes as the site is redeveloped.
  • Successful delivery of the project was particularly impressive given the location of the site, which lies partly in a nature reserve adjacent to the huge development site for the Olympics. The efficient layout had to take account of 57 planning restrictions relating to noise, odour and architecture. The ability to remotely operate the plant from Thames Water’s headquarters 40 miles away in Reading enabled a further reduction in its physical footprint.
  • In parallel with the development of the plant, Thames Water worked with the UK government to establish the first regulatory guidelines for the commercial reuse of treated wastewater in the country. 
 
 

Water Technology Company of the Year

For the company which has made the most significant contribution in the field of water technology over the past year.

Winner: Nalco
What is it?
The $4.25 billion-a-year water solutions provider which was listed on NYSE until December 2011. It is now part of the Ecolab group.
 
What has it done?
Over the last three years, Nalco has come a long way from being simply a water chemicals supplier. The addition of automation and control capabilities means it now boasts an integrated solutions platform for its industrial customer base. The merger with Ecolab has opened up new channels for growth in the industrial and institutional markets.
 
What makes it special?
  • Nalco’s unique 3D Trasar technology has the ability to measure and control events in real time, saving money and the environment by correctly calibrating chemical dosing. Having introduced the technology to the cooling tower and boiler water systems, Nalco rolled it out to the membrane market in 2011, and has big plans to do the same in the wastewater arena.
  • Not all mergers are about cost-cutting. The fusion with Ecolab is all about increased growth and impact: Nalco’s automation capabilities have the potential to revolutionise water and energy consumption within Ecolab’s core sanitising business, whilst helping to redefine the way emerging market economies engage with the waterenergy nexus.
  • Nalco’s industrial process monitoring business, Nalco 360, was introduced a little over two years ago. The accumulated data is now enabling the company to offer both internal and external benchmarking services – thus creating added value for its growing client base.
 
Distinction: Xylem
What is it?
The newly spun-off water solutions arm of ITT Corporation. It is listed on NYSE with revenues of $3.6 billion.
 
What has it done?
Having recognised at an early stage the growing need for analytical water solutions, Xylem rounded out its instrumentation portfolio via a series of acquisitions in 2011. Its demerger from ITT means it is now positioned for a new phase of global growth as a stand-alone entity.
 
What makes it special?
  • What can’t be measured can’t be managed. In the face of increasingly stringent regulations affecting water utilities right around the world, Xylem’s visionary leaders built a $300 million analytics platform from nothing, topping it off by winning a fierce bidding war for prize asset YSI Inc. last July.
  • It is not all about acquiring intellectual property. One of Xylem’s first moves as an independent company was to ink an agreement with GE to distribute Zenon ultrafiltration membranes. The move means the company can now offer a fully comprehensive wastewater treatment portfolio to complement its leading position in wastewater pumps.
  • Xylem’s spin-off from ITT gave rise to the largest publicly traded water pure-play by revenues. The renewed focus on water will enable Xylem to be more responsive in terms of innovation: in 2011 alone, it launched a new energy-saving wastewater pump and a non-clog diesel-driven dewatering pump, whilst revolutionising its Spektron UV system.
 
Bluewater Bio
What is it?
A privately held water technology company based in London, UK.
 
What has it done?
Shrewd management and sheer determination helped to catapult Bluewater Bio into the mainstream in 2011. Time and again it has proved that it has the knack of picking the right partners to maximise its growth potential in key markets around the world.
 
What makes it special?
  • 2011 was the year in which Bluewater Bio really stepped up to the plate in terms of putting its proprietary hybrid activated sludge technology in front of global decision-makers. It signed a licencing agreement with Infilco Degrémont which will enable it to harness the vast retrofitting potential in the North American market, and secured a key reference with Severn Trent which should open up the largescale UK market. It also won a $20 million contract to expand and upgrade the Tubli WWTP in Bahrain.
  • Bluewater Bio proved last year that it is in pole position in the race to roll up independently owned filtration companies. Significantly, the acquisition of FilterClear in September will kick-start the company’s entry into the water reuse and desalination pre-treatment markets.
  • Since delisting in 2007, Bluewater Bio has had little trouble attracting private capital to fund its ambitious growth plans. Now EBITDA profitable, it has continued to attract interest from top-flight investment vehicles in 2011, securing an $8 million cash injection from Liberation Capital, and paving the way for its next major funding round in early 2012.
 
Ostara Nutrient Recovery Technologies
What is it?
A Vancouver-based startup which aims to mitigate the environmental effects of chemical mining by reusing nutrients from wastewater schemes. Its Pearl nutrient recovery process recovers phosphorus and ammonia from wastewater and resells the end product as fertiliser.
 
What has it done?
2011 marked the start of a new era of international growth for the value-fromwaste specialist, which emerged confidently from under the wing of Veolia’s cleantech startup scheme.
 
What makes it special?
  • Phosphorus is a critical component of fertiliser – and a non-renewable resource. Ostara’s nutrient recovery technology can remove up to 90% of phosphorus and 20% of nitrogen from effluent streams, stemming downstream pollution and trimming plant operating costs by eliminating struvite buildup.
  • The harvested struvite is sold commercially as fertiliser, thus closing the nutrient loop and helping to reduce the environmental impact of industrial phosphorus production. Customers can hope to recoup their initial expenditure within a three to seven-year timeframe.
  • 2011 was the year Ostara truly broke onto the international scene. From a small reference base in the US, the company has built considerable momentum, winning projects in Canada and the UK. Regulatory drivers mean it is well positioned for further European growth, as both municipal and industrial water users come under increasing pressure to mitigate their environmental footprint.
 

Water company of the Year

For the water company that has made the most significant contribution to the development of the international water sector during 2011.

Winner: CH2M Hill
What is it?
An employee-owned consultant engineering firm with annual revenues of $6.3 billion in 2010, around a quarter of which are derived from water-related activities. Its OMI division has a portfolio of operating contracts in the US water sector.
 
What has it done?
In 2011, CH2M Hill’s global water business went from strength to strength. The acquisition of Halcrow gave it a significantly strengthened presence outside its core North American market, while the launch of its grassroots water initiative WaterMatch in October has the potential to take the concept of water reuse to a whole new level.
 
What makes it special?
  • 75% of CH2M Hill’s water-related revenues are generated in North America. For the firm to be taken seriously as a global water player, it needed to diversify, and the 2011 acquisition of Halcrow provided the perfect platform for growth outside its traditional markets.
  • CH2M Hill’s innovative WaterMatch initiative harnesses the power of social networking to promote the beneficial reuse of municipal effluent by industry and agriculture. The website, which operates on a non-commercial basis, uses geospatial mapping to connect water generators with water users in real time, thus promoting water stewardship in a unique new way.
  • The inertia of many public policy officials in the US is the source of much frustration for forward-thinking leaders in the private sector. CH2M Hill’s partnership with the University of Kansas, signed in August last year, is a proactive approach towards educating emerging local government leaders in new and costeffective strategies for service delivery.
 
Distinction: Degrémont
What is it?
The €1.6 billion-a-year specialist water treatment plant arm of Paris-listed Suez Environnement.
 
What has it done?
In 2011, Degrémont showed that being aged 72 doesn’t mean it’s time to slow down and take things easy. As well as securing a clutch of large-scale design-build projects, the firm placed a renewed focus on its equipment and services business, dominating the Australian O&M market and bolstering its industrial wastewater offering.
 
What makes it special?
  • The design-build bias of Degrémont’s business has always meant that its revenues are lumpy. The signing of an €840 million 10-year O&M contract in Adelaide and the securing of preferred bidder status on a similar contract in Perth last year show that the company is serious about promoting its credentials as a services business. It will also help to increase revenue visibility going forward.
  • The rebalancing did not come at the expense of Degrémont’s core designbuild business: the firm continued to win landmark contracts in 2011, securing deals to build a 350,000m3/d municipal WWTP in Prague and a 50,000m3/d industrial WWTP serving the Wuhan Chemical Industry Park in China.
  • Degrémont’s plant expertise is backed up by a vast internal pool of technological and R&D knowledge. In 2011, the company used data from its unique plant reference portfolio to develop a series of online tools to help clients reduce opex and assess GHG emissions. It was also awarded a patent for its iBIO process, which removes selenium from flue gas desulphurisation (FGD) wastewater streams, and continues to develop new solutions in the field of medical water, aided by the acquisition of ultra-pure water specialist AmeriWater last June.
 
Abengoa
What is it?
A publicly traded Spanish construction group. Abengoa co-ordinates its water activities through Abengoa Water, which is responsible for developing, financing and operating the group’s portfolio of water treatment plants, as well as its research and development activities. The Abeima division supports Abengoa Water by providing EPC (engineering, procurement and construction) services.
 
What has it done?
Abengoa was active everywhere in 2011, winning its largest water project to date (in Mexico), while securing its first desalination project in West Africa, consolidating its presence in China and the US, and branching out into Turkey. No other company did as much to promote its credentials abroad last year.
 
What makes it special?
  • 2011 was the year Abengoa’s water business really took control of its own destiny. The group bought out minority shareholders in Befesa, and rationalised its water activities into two complementary divisions. The development, finance and O&M expertise has been brought together in Abengoa Water (formerly Befesa Water), while the EPC business is now housed in Abeima. It is an arrangement that benefits customer and contractor alike.
  • The Zapotillo project in Mexico is Abengoa’s largest water project to date, involving the design, construction and 25-year operation of a 328,230m3/d water treatment plant and a 139km pipeline. The Abengoa group companies clubbed together to present an irresistable bid which came in significantly lower than that of its nearest competitor.
  • Abengoa cemented its reputation as a desalination pioneer in 2011, winning its first BOT project in Ghana, signing an MOU to develop up to 800,000m3/d of new capacity on Changxing Island in China, finalising the construction of its first brackish water desalination plant in Texas, and commissioning the Hounaine plant in Algeria. Its 40-strong research team continues to engage in cutting-edge R&D activities, designing a pilot remineralisation system last year, and filing patents for desalination, low-pressure membrane and sludge treatment applications.
 
GS Engineering and Construction
What is it?
One of Korea’s largest EPC (engineering, procurement and construction) companies. Through Inima, it is also active globally as an owner/operator of wastewater treatment and desalination plants.
 
What has it done?
The environment division of GS E&C entered Europe and the Americas in spectacular style last year with the €231 acquisition of Spanish plant owner/operator Inima. It also consolidated its growing presence in the Middle Eastern EPC market, while continuing to innovate at home in Korea.
 
What makes it special?
  • Up until last year, 87% of the group’s overseas revenues came from the Middle East. The Inima acquisition not only provides GS with a ready reference base of projects in Europe and the Americas – it brings with it a wealth of expertise in international operations contracts to add to its core EPC proficiency.
  • In 2011, GS E&C’s contract wins at home included a 21,000m3/d underground water reuse facility serving a housing development in Korea, and a 27,000m3/d overground WWTP with a unique helical superstructure. It is the ability to overcome these sorts of construction challenges that will make the ‘new’ GS a fearsome competitor on the international stage.
  • A technology partnership with LG Electronics and access to competitive funding from Korea’s EXIM bank will give GS the edge when it comes to pitching for new business in the BOT (build-operatetransfer) market. The group deserves a gold star for its vision.