Banner
Global Water Awards 2017 Madrid, Spain | 24 April

 

2015 Nominations Winners

2017 Global Water Awards | Madrid, Spain | 24 April

Global Water Intelligence is proud to announce the winners for the 2015 Global Water Awards. Presented by by José Manuel Barroso, President of the European Commission (2004-2014) and Prime Minister of Portugal (2002-2004) at a special ceremony to be held on the evening of the 27 April 2015 at the Nasioutzik Museum, Athens, Greece.

Water Company of the Year
Desalination Company of the Year
Water Project of the Year
Waste Water 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 Technology Company of the Year
Water Performance Initiative of the Year

Water Leaders Award
The Corporate Water Stewardship Award
Water Technology Idol

 


Water Company of the Year

For the water company that made the most significant contribution to the development of the international water sector in 2014.

Winner: Abengoa

What is it?
A Spanish concessions and construction company with interests in water and renewable energy.

What has it done?
In 2014, Abengoa contracted two major water pipeline projects at San Antonio in the US and Denizli in Turkey, and began work on the Zapotillo pipeline in Mexico. In desalination, it closed the financing of the 100,000m3/d Agadir plant in Morocco, signed a contract for a plant in Dalian, China, with a capacity of up to 250,000m3/d, and completed the construction of the 60,000m3/d Nungua project in Ghana and the 200,000m3/d Ténès project in Algeria. In the industrial sector, it expanded its interests in the mining, power, and oil & gas sectors with projects in the US and Chile. On the technology front, it was one of four companies selected for the Masdar renewable energy desalination tender, and has been developing new technologies for value-from-urine and multi-barrier treatments for water reuse. On the corporate front, it acquired a stake in GreenTech, one of China's leading membrane systems suppliers

What makes it special?

  • Abengoa have brought a unique combination of energy, creativity and commitment to some of the most difficult projects imaginable. Each time, it has reached a deal which leaves clients satisfied while safeguarding its shareholders' interests. Abengoa's unique ability to deliver on the impossible is reason enough to believe that even the world's most intractable water problems can be solved. Abengoa Water CEO Carlos Cosín and business development VP Arantxa Mencia head a team whose commitment to delivering results is unmatched in the water industry.
  • The Vista Ridge pipeline in San Antonio is a landmark project in the US: the first major privately financed bulk water supply initiative agreed without major public resistance. The combination of a sensitive understanding of the client's point of view and an absolute refusal to let the project die won the day. It is a recipe that could open the market for private water across America.
  • In 2014, Abengoa showed that it is so much more than just a desalination company, with notable successes in water transmission, industrial water and wastewater, as well as research.
Distinction: Aqualogy

What is it?
The non-concessions business of Suez Environnement subsidiary Agbar.

What has it done?
Aqualogy has developed a portfolio of knowledge-based service offerings to complement Suez Environnement's concessions and design-build businesses. It spans new technologies, operational and capital project-based services, and conceptual work, as well as practical assistance to both municipalities and industrial customers

What makes it special?

  • Aqualogy has brought a compelling new business model to the global water sector that will change the face of the industry over the next decade. It has blown open the concept of the private water operator to make world-class expertise available to all, whether or not they want to make the commitment to a long-term concession.
  • In 2014, it saw growth across all its operational areas, winning new clients for its service innovations such as ice pigging for network cleaning (in the US, UK and Poland), iDROLOC helium leak detection (in Algeria, Spain and France), thermal sludge drying (in the UK and Poland), electrochemical treatment of leachates (in Brazil and Belgium), desalination plant operations (for municipal and mining customers in Chile and Peru), irrigation project management (in Spain), and industrial water footprinting (in the food and beverage sector).
  • Aqualogy's new service offerings are becoming a key driver of growth for Suez Environnement. Their success could provide a new paradigm for public-private partnerships in the water industry.
Metito

What is it?
An Emirates-headquartered international water and wastewater specialist, covering construction, operation and investment in global infrastructure.

What has it done?
Metito has achieved international recognition for its role as a standard-bearer in developing markets, and has actively established a sustainable outlet for its talents in difficult operating environments. At the same time, its corporate ambitions reached new heights last year, with a massive international buy-in and a new approach to tech investment.

What makes it special?

  • The sale of a 38.4% equity stake in Metito's holding company to a Mitsubishi Corp./Mitsubishi Heavy Industries joint venture in July 2014 amply demonstrated the company's inherent value to some of the biggest corporate names on the planet. The move gave a huge boost to the company's technical capabilities, and brought with it enhanced access to development funding.
  • As well as testing its credentials as a global leader willing to invest in South-South trade, Metito proved last year that it could fight and win competitive contracts in established markets, securing key wins in Dubai, Abu Dhabi and Egypt.
  • The tie-up with low-temperature distillation company TPTec in September 2014 marked Metito's first major equity investment in technology, and demonstrates an expanded ambition for internal technical expertise. The deal also opened the door to new opportunities in industrial water and wastewater markets.
United Envirotech

What is it?
A provider of membrane-based water and wastewater treatment and reclamation solutions, listed on the Singapore stock exchange.

What has it done?
2014 was the year in which United Envirotech (UEL) strengthened both its technology offering and its partnership strategy in order to capture a wider breadth of opportunities in the fast-growing membrane-based water and wastewater treatment industry. It completed the acquisition of membrane specialist Memstar, and set up JVs with two Chinese state-owned enterprises enjoying a strong regional presence, securing several milestone projects at the same time. Its extraordinary performance resulted in a spectacular S$1.9 billion (US$1.5 billion) takeover offer from CITIC and KKR in the latter half of the year.

What makes it special?

  • The completion of the acquisition of Memstar resulted in the creation of a vertically integrated MBR specialist with a significant competitive advantage in its core Chinese market. The shrewd rationale behind the deal was borne out when it secured a RMB500 million ($81 million) EPC contract to design and build one of China's largest MBR wastewater treatment plants, with a design capacity of 200,000m3/d.
  • Two new joint ventures with Beijing Drainage Group and Chengdu Xingrong Group, respectively, leveraged both UEL's strong technology and engineering capabilities, and the Chinese SOEs' regional dominance to propel UEL into developing markets, including western China and Beijing's burgeoning water reuse market.
  • CITIC and KKR's unprecedented takeover offer came at a spectacular premium to UEL's open market valuation, demonstrating beyond doubt that the company is much more than the sum of its parts, as it prepares to fully exploit the vast market for environmental protection solutions in China.

Desalination Company of the Year

For the desalination company which made the greatest overall contribution to the desalination industry in 2014.

Distinction: Degrémont

What is it?
The €1 billion-a-year water treatment arm of Paris-listed Suez Environnement.

What has it done?
The company demonstrated a mastery of every aspect of the process of membrane desalination in 2014, from the ability to design and commission some of the largest membrane facilities in the world, to pushing the boundaries of the technology through exciting new tech link-ups in the lab.

What makes it special?

  • Degrémont reigned supreme in 2014 as the master of large-scale membrane desal, securing the contract to build the desalination element of Abu Dhabi's Mirfa independent water and power project – the emirate's first Gulf Coast membrane facility. As the changing energy mix forces the Middle East away from thermal desal technology, Degrémont's forward-thinking approach means it is strongly positioned to take advantage of the shift to reverse osmosis.
  • At the opposite end of the scale, Degrémont is looking to create the future of desalination in an energy-conscious world through its link-up with the Masdar renewable energy desalination programme in Abu Dhabi. The pilot plant it is building will provide a vital glimpse into the future of a constantly changing industry that is becoming more important than ever.
  • Over the last two years, Degrémont has developed an uncanny knack for supplying filtration systems to floating production, storage and offloading (FPSO) installations for the oil and gas industry. This trend offers compelling evidence of the company's increasingly sophisticated and dominant position in the world of industrial desalination – a position cemented by the acquisition of the Australia-based Process Group in June 2014.
Desalcott

What is it?
The owner and operator of the Point Lisas desalination plant in Trinidad.

What has it done?
Operated the Point Lisas plant successfully for 13 years, despite difficult feedwater and challenging political conditions. The 2014 expansion of the plant to 191,000m3/d is a vindication of the expertise, patience and reliability of the Desalcott team.

What makes it special?

  • The Point Lisas desal plant faces some of the most difficult feedwater conditions encountered anywhere in the world, including high turbidity, variable salinity and extreme biological activity. In response, Desalcott has developed world-leading expertise in pretreatment, evolving proprietary chemical mixes and cleaning routines to deliver high-quality product water with absolute reliability.
  • Back in 2006, the Trinidadian government was calling for the termination of its contract with Desalcott, as the two main political parties on the island fought over the project. Last year's capacity expansion is final confirmation of the importance of the Desalcott plant to the local economy: it now supplies around 20% of the island's water.
  • Desalcott makes an important contribution to the financial sustainability of the island's water system. The margin (said to be in the region of $1.00/m3) that Water and Sewerage Authority makes on selling Desalcott's high-purity product water to its industrial customers enables the authority to subsidise its municipal end-users. The financial agreement surrounding the expansion of the plant enables this to happen on a larger scale than ever before.
Desalitech

What is it?
A Boston-based supplier of high-recovery, low-energy water treatment solutions. The company's patented Closed-Circuit Desalination technology significantly reduces brine generation and energy consumption when compared to traditional reverse osmosis systems.

What has it done?
Desalitech has emerged as a serious contender in the global desalination systems market, thanks to its game-changing high-recovery reverse osmosis technology. Since establishing its headquarters at the heart of the Boston water hub in 2013, the company has dramatically increased sales, whilst broadening its client base beyond its historical North American industrial core.

What makes it special?

  • One of the biggest challenges – and the biggest costs – associated with inland desalination is the thorny issue of brine disposal. Desalitech's ReFlex RO system changes the economics of brackish water desalination by recirculating concentrate until the desired recovery rate is achieved, offering an economical way to sidestep brine disposal costs. Crucially, the system also adapts automatically to changing feedwater parameters – a vital factor when treating variable brackish water streams.
  • The company proved time and again in 2014 that it was equal to the challenge of serving municipal and industrial clients around the globe. It laid the foundations for a municipal nitrate removal facility in Israel in May, signed up Coke bottler Coca-Cola Icecek as a client in November, and signed an MoU with Veolia in March to expand its reach into the Mexican market. No desalter has done more to change the way industries and municipalities think about treating their water.
  • Desalitech secured its largest ever funding injection in December 2014, raising $11 million from a consortium of investors including Spring Creek Investment Management, Liberation Capital and Israel's AquAgro Fund. The investment will help the company reduce its reliance on systems sales by allowing it to undertake more BOO-type projects, and is a huge vote of confidence in Desalitech's ability to alter the fundamentals of membrane desalination.
Winner: Saline Water Conversion Corporation

What is it?
The bulk water supply agency for the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, and the largest producer of desalinated water in the world, generating 4.6 million m3/d of water and 7,400MW of power across 27 production centres. It celebrates its 50th anniversary in 2015.

What has it done?
Under the leadership of AbdulRahman Al-Ibrahim, SWCC has not only accelerated its investment in new plants and extended the life of its existing assets – it has also transformed itself as a learning organisation, empowering its staff, simplifying its processes, and bringing a new focus to operational efficiency, reliability and economic returns.

What makes it special?

  • SWCC has the toughest job in desalination. It has the largest fleet of desalination plants in the world, with the least margin for error: some cities have just 48 hours of water reserves. The problem gets tougher as plants reach the end of their productive lives and demand for water increases inexorably. In 2014, SWCC not only stepped up its production to a new high, but did so while increasing its commitment to environmental stewardship, fuel efficiency, and the employment and development of Saudi staff.
  • In 2014, SWCC's Saline Water Desalination Research Institute cemented its reputation as a global centre of desalination expertise, working in partnership with organisations including Saudi Aramco, King Abdullah University of Science and Technology, Doosan, Dow, and Singapore PUB, and bringing its total haul of complete applied research projects to 29, with ten patent approvals over the past decade. Developing a new approach to multiple-effect distillation technology that reduces energy consumption by 40% and extending the life of desalination plants from 25 years to 40 years have been key foci of the institute's research.
  • 2014 saw the commissioning of the 309,128m3/d Ras Al-Khair reverse osmosis plant, which is specially designed to treat the difficult waters of the Gulf. With nearly 50 years of experience of every kind of desalination challenge behind it, SWCC effortlessly rose to the challenge.

Water Project of the Year

For the water treatment plant, commissioned during 2014, that shows the greatest innovation in terms of optimising its physical or environmental footprint.

Distinction: Andijk III pretreatment plant, Netherlands

What is it?
A 120,000m3/d WTP extension that represents the world's first large-scale integrated ion exchange and ceramic membrane filtration plant.

Who is responsible?
The facility was delivered by a team comprising PWN Technologies and RWB Water Services, with PWN responsible for construction and commissioning, and RWB co-responsible for equipment production and supply

What makes it special?

  • The project marks a crucially significant milestone for the arrival of ceramic membranes, a product that had previously been considered an expensive option, but which is now a serious contender in terms of offering an extended lifetime versus conventional membranes, as well as reduced cleaning costs, and resistance to backwash pressure. The Andijk facility is the reference that could act as the launchpad for the technology around the world.
  • The combination of ceramic membranes and suspended ion exchange results in water that can be treated at a significantly lower cost, while avoiding issues of coagulation and fouling at the ceramic membrane stage. Advanced oxidation ensures the full elimination of potentially hazardous substances from the resulting permeate.
  • The installation of Andijk III as a high-spec pretreatment facility extended the lifetime and reduced the energy footprint of the existing plant, and also resulted in a significantly reduced need for treatment and cleaning chemicals, making the existing infrastructure a far more environmentally compliant asset for the client, the PWN Water Supply Company North-Holland.
Winner: Lakeview WTP phase 2 expansion, Canada

What is it?
A 400,000m3/d expansion to a plant treating water from Lake Ontario to potable standards for 1.3 million people, using ozone oxidation, submerged hollow-fibre membranes, and a UV treatment step. The Can$450 million expansion forms part of an aggressive capital expansion programme designed to comply with stringent new regulations, and took the plant's total capacity to 1.2 million m3/d, with the potential to expand further to 2 million m3/d.

Who is responsible?
Designer CH2M Hill led the procurement of the project on behalf of the plant owner, the Region of Peel. GE supplied its ZeeWeed membranes, while Trojan furnished the UV system. The plant is operated via a third-party agreement with the Ontario Clean Water Agency

What makes it special?

  • The innovative deployment of one of the world's largest integrated membrane facilities combats coagulation and allows 95% of process residuals to be disposed of into the source water stream, largely eliminating the need for costly disposal by truck, and keeping chemical deliveries to a minimum.
  • The rollout of the expansion took place at a sprawling, busy site, with a number of other extension and improvement projects taking place simultaneously. The designers and planners demonstrated an unflappable grasp of one of the most complex management situations around, whilst taking account of a host of competing interests to successfully bring the project home.
  • The successful procurement and construction of the plant marked a new high for the water treatment industry in Canada, meeting every target as far as budget, schedule and sustainability goals were concerned, and delivering an industry-leading capital cost of Can$0.40 per litre per day of water treatment capacity.
Leo J. Vander Lans WTF expansion, USA

What is it?
An expansion to a treatment facility which processes treated effluent from sewage treatment plants in Los Angeles County, California, prior to reinjection into local aquifers for indirect potable reuse. The expansion takes the facility from a capacity of 3MGD (11,355m3/d) up to 8MGD (30,280m3/d), while adding a third-stage RO process and a new MF backwash recirculation system.

Who is responsible?
The expansion was procured by the Water Replenishment District of Southern California (WRD). The design engineer was CDM Smith, and the contractor was Flatiron West, Inc., while the RO trains were provided by H2O Innovation. Microfiltration membranes are supplied by Pall Corp. The entire facility is operated by the City of Long Beach Water Department.

What makes it special?

  • The successful expansion of the facility meant negotiating a large number of restrictions, both in terms of a geographically limited site footprint, and the fact that the WRD has only limited control of the water intake and outflow conditions. A compact design was combined with canny negotiations on permitting with surrounding agencies in order to secure a deal that made sense for all parties.
  • The plant designer's mastery of recirculation technologies greatly reduces the facility's geographical and environmental footprint, and brings it to the peak of efficiency. The deployment of a DAF system to treat MF backwash water reduces liquid losses at the low-pressure membrane installation stage to 1%, while the third-stage RO process moves recovery levels to 92.5%, reducing the volume of brine which needs to be disposed of, and improving output quality to a level where it no longer needs to be blended with external potable water sources before injection into the aquifer.
  • On an operational level, the expansion turned out to be cost-positive. Thanks to the more efficient RO system, the reduction in brine disposal costs outweighed the associated rise in energy costs, meaning the expanded plant actually ends up saving money for the cost-conscious WRD.
Wichita Equus Beds ASR project, USA

What is it?
A 30MGD (113,550m3/d) aquifer storage and recharge (ASR) project in Wichita, Kansas, deploying the world's largest advanced oxidation facility to treat water from the Little Arkansas River during high-flow periods and inject it into the overdrawn Equus Beds aquifer.

Who is responsible?
The project was procured by the City of Wichita. Burns & McDonnell teamed with Alberici Constructors and CAS Construction on a design-build project to complete the river intake, water treatment facilities, recharge wells and basins

What makes it special?

  • As the first ASR project in the state of Kansas, the planning team had to show the nous and the confidence to deal with a host of state agencies and create a viable framework for success. At the same time, a wide-ranging publicity and awareness campaign brought local residents onside with a project that has resoundingly averted a looming environmental crisis.
  • The precise design of the project allows it to be started up and shut down at impressively short notice – crucial for a plant that has to adjust to rapidly changing demand and supply dynamics, all while keeping the aquifer at a sustainable level.
  • The deployment of the world's largest advanced oxidation system – six times bigger than the next biggest of its kind – allows the system to deal with surface water contaminants such as atrazine, bringing the water to a point where it can both enhance and secure the natural aquifer for future generations.

 


 

Waste Water Project of the Year

For the wastewater treatment plant, commissioned during 2014, that shows the greatest innovation in terms of optimising its physical or environmental footprint.

Winner: Agua Prieta WWTP, Mexico

What is it?
A 734,000m3/d municipal wastewater treatment plant with a peak flow capacity of 1.3 million m3/d, serving 3.3 million people in Mexico's Guadalajara region and contributing to the restoration of the heavily polluted Santiago River.

Who is responsible?
The project was developed by Renova Atlatec, a special purpose vehicle comprising Mitsui USA subsidiary SAT (16%), Mitsui/Toyo vehicle Atlatec (34%) and ICA (50%), through a 20-year build-operate-transfer agreement with the Water Commission of the State of Jalisco. An Atlatec/ICA venture undertook the EPC work, and currently operates the plant.

What makes it special?

  • The use of biogas recovery for electricity cogeneration makes the plant 100% self-sufficient, an astounding achievement for a facility of this size. It also reduces carbon emissions by more than 40,000 tons per year, a hugely positive sign in an industry that has historically drained a large chunk of Mexico's national energy demand.
  • The construction team successfully overcame considerable topographical difficulties, including the need to site the facility within a tight 10-hectare site on a steep slope in rocky terrain. A short execution window and a ban on the use of explosives demanded further levels of ingenuity.
  • As the second largest WWTP of its kind in Latin America and the largest in Mexico, the Agua Prieta facility sets a new benchmark in terms of quality and scale in a region that has been the focus of enormous infrastructure expansion. It proves that successful developers can tackle even the largest of social and environmental challenges with aplomb.
Distinction: Fes WWTP, Morocco

What is it?
A 155,000m3/d wastewater treatment plant deploying biological treatment and sludge management to deal with both municipal and industrial wastewater streams from an area containing 1.3 million people.

Who is responsible?
The plant was commissioned by national water and power agency ONEE and the Fes water agency RADEEF. It was built by contractor Waterleau under a contract that will see the company operate the plant for ten years

What makes it special?

  • The construction of Morocco's largest sewage treatment plant is a coup for both client and contractor. Its location at a crucial juncture in the Sebou river basin will enable a reduction in the disposal of untreated wastewater, simultaneously improving the environment and the quality of life for more than 5 million people.
  • The deployment of an activated sludge process design allows it to deal with both domestic wastewater and effluent from the city's olive oil and leather industries. Meanwhile, the cogeneration installation marks a new high for sustainability in the country's infrastructure and allows internal generation of up to 70% of the plant's energy needs, meaning Morocco's largest WWTP has one of the country's smallest energy footprints.
  • The conclusion of the project cements Waterleau's position as the contractor of choice following on from successful commissionings at Marrakech, Bouskoura and Dakhla, and the financing package put together by state authorities marked a successful domestic co-operation between national state funding, the local banking sector and utility financing.
Muharraq WWTP, Bahrain

What is it?
A 100,000m3/d wastewater treatment plant, sludge incinerator, sea outfall, 20km deep gravity sewer tunnel and lifting station on the island of Muharraq, forming part of Bahrain's 2030 National Master Plan for Sanitary Engineering Services.

Who is responsible?
The project was delivered by a vehicle comprising Samsung Engineering (45%), United Utilities (20%) and Invest Abu Dhabi (35%) under a 27-year build-own-operate contract. Samsung and UU took the lead on O&M at the plant. Hyder Consulting provided design advice, while G.P. Zachariades carried out civil contracting work. The client is Bahrain's Ministry of Works

What makes it special?

  • The installation of a high-quality treatment plant at zero capital cost for the local authorities through the use of a BOO contract structure took the strain from the Ministry's overworked plant at Tubli, cut back on the serious pollution problem cause by insufficient treatment capacity, and has allowed the kingdom to more easily pursue its ambitious plans for national treated sewage effluent reuse.
  • The move to a location on an offshore island presented a logistical challenge but meant the developers managed to create a large and highly effective plant with a full complement of treatment technologies with the minimum of environmental impact, despite serving one of the most densely populated parts of the region. Despite the need to excavate an extensive underground collection network, the use of microtunnelling ensured a minimum of disruption.
  • Despite major changes in scope during and after procurement – and the financial turmoil that followed social unrest in the region – the development team held true to an extremely competitive price quote, delivering best value for both client and developer.
Ovilléo WWTP, Marquette-lez-Lille, France

What is it?
A wastewater treatment plant in a northern suburb of Lille, serving around 620,000 people and treating both municipal wastewater and stormwater. The new facility replaces an old 1960s treatment plant at the same site, and is the biggest of its kind in northern France, featuring the world's largest integrated fixed-film activated sludge plant.

Who is responsible?
The installation was built by a Veolia-led consortium under a six-year design-build-operate contract awarded in 2010 by the Lille metropolitan authority

What makes it special?

  • Replacing a decades-old wastewater treatment plant in the centre of a densely populated European metropolis is not a task for the faint of heart. Veolia mobilised all the resources at its disposal to deliver a state-of-the-art facility which will ensure that the city complies with key EU directives for decades to come.
  • The new plant is a one-stop marketing reference for Veolia's most advanced treatment technologies. While stormwater will pass through a patented Actiflo ballasted flocculation system, the wastewater train involves the removal of suspended solids using Multiflo lamellar settlers, followed by Hybas (a combination of activated sludge and AnoxKaldnes' MBBR technology), before the effluent is polished using proprietary Hydrotech disc filters. The sludge treatment process features Veolia's thermal hydrolysis technology Exelys, enabling a significant reduction in the volume of sludge produced, whilst increasing biogas production. The sludge is then reused by local industry after being dried in a BioCon dryer.
  • The plant's low carbon footprint and high degree of energy self-sufficiency have significantly reduced the impact on the surrounding environment. The compact architectural design freed up land to accommodate a 7-hectare educational garden, while the plant's proximity to residential buildings mean that particular emphasis has been put on keeping noise and odours to a minimum.

Desalination Plant of the Year

For the desalination plant, commissioned during 2014, that represents the most impressive technical or ecologically sustainable achievement in the industry.

Distinction: Cambria BWRO, California

What is it?
A 400gpm (2,180m3/d) brackish water treatment plant featuring a three-step treatment process: ultrafiltration, reverse osmosis, and UV/advanced oxidation.

Who is responsible?
The prime design-build contractor was CDM Smith. H2O Innovation supplied the RO and ultrafiltration units, which use Toray UF membranes and Hydranautics RO membranes. Trojan provided the UV disinfection unit. The client is the Cambria Community Service District.

What makes it special?

  • A 50-gallon-per-day consumption limit for local residents, a long-standing moratorium on new water connections, and a ban on the outdoor use of potable water meant that the coastal community of Cambria (pop. 6,000) ranked among the worst casualties of California's raging drought. Although the city had looked at seawater desalination before, Governor Brown's declaration of a drought emergency freed up the possibility of developing an alternative brackish water option, which was exempt from a burdensome environmental review process, enabling it to move ahead in record time.
  • Fast-tracking the construction of a desalination project such as this is unprecedented in California, and sets a new benchmark for what is achievable in the face of severe water stress. Following the decision to move ahead in January 2014, an emergency coastal development permit was granted in May, and construction began in August. The use of pre-fabricated processing units and above-ground plumbing reduced the capital cost, and ensured that the plant was granted an operational permit in November 2014 – less than a year after the process began.
  • The feedwater is a unique mix of groundwater, brackish water and secondary treated effluent, and the two-stage RO system results in a 92% permeate recovery rate – close to double that of a standard seawater desalination plant. The high level of acceptance from local residents for what is ultimately an indirect potable reuse project conclusively demonstrates that Californians are willing to retain their pioneering spirit when faced with long odds.
Copiapó SWRO, Chile

What is it?
A 38,880m3/d seawater reverse osmosis plant (expandable to 54,000m3/d) supplying water to a new iron ore mine in Cerro Negro, Chile, as well as to a local municipality and nearby agricultural interests.

Who is responsible?
Acciona Agua designed, constructed and commissioned the facility, and will operate it for 20 years. The plant features Hydranautics RO membranes and PX energy recovery devices from ERI. The client is Compañía de Aceros del Pacífico (CAP).

What makes it special?

  • Chile's Atacama desert is one of the most inhospitable places on earth, with insufficient natural water resources to support local mining interests, which account for one fifth of the country's GDP. Acciona Agua's solution was to construct a seawater desalination plant on the coast, and then pump the water to an altitude of 1,200 metres in order to supply CAP's ambitious Cerro Negro iron ore mine expansion. Acciona overcame considerable logistical and geological challenges by pre-fabricating a considerable portion of the plant infrastructure in Santiago before transporting it to the site.
  • The plant is the first desal installation in Latin America to incorporate Acciona Agua's proprietary ACCDAFF pre-treatment technology, which combines dissolved air flotation and filtration elements in the same basin. The system offers the potential for considerable energy savings by allowing the user only to turn on the filtration devices when dealing with 'red tide' events. In addition, a uniquely simple jellyfish deterrent device involving compressed air flowing through a dedicated 1-inch pipeline inside the intake structure reduces impingement, whilst benefitting local marine life.
  • With local water resources stretched to breaking point, CAP's social licence to operate is assured by the fact that the plant will also supply potable water to the town of Caldera, as well as irrigation water to local agriculture. An ingenious closed-loop pipeline system ensures that produced water from the mine site is used to facilitate the flow of slurry from the mine to the coast, before being neutralised and blended with RO permeate prior to being recirculated back to the mine.
Mactaa, Algeria

What is it?
A 500,000m3/d SWRO plant in northwestern Algeria, and the world's second-largest membrane desalination facility. It will supply water to Oran, Algeria's second-largest city.

Who is responsible?
The plant is owned and operated by a Hyflux-led group under a 25-year build-own-operate contract with the Algerian government. Hyflux took the lead operating and contracting role and holds a 47% stake in the project company, alongside AEC (43%) and Algérienne des Eaux. The 25-train plant features Hyflux's proprietary Kristal UF pretreatment technology, RO membranes from Toray, and turbochargers supplied by Energy Recovery, Inc.

What makes it special?

  • The start of full operations last year marked a major achievement for the developer team after a difficult and protracted commissioning period. Showing unrivalled persistence, the team had to battle through fire, challenging terrain, changing water intake quality, and a switch in national perceptions on private ownership before they were able to celebrate the successful commissioning of the plant.
  • Despite employing a more expensive pipe-jacking technique in order to minimise environmental damage when constructing the open ocean intake, Hyflux's ultra-low water offtake tariff of $0.56/m3 avoids placing the cost of desalination on the local population at a time when the cost and quality of regional utility services has become increasingly politicised.
  • The size of the plant redefines what is possible with membrane desalination, proving that the technology has truly carved out its place as the solution of choice for the world's leading desalination agencies. Not only is Mactaa Africa's largest desalination plant, it is the largest plant in the world to feature UF pre-treatment.
Winner: Ras Al-Khair SWRO, Saudi Arabia

What is it?
A 68MIGD (309,128m3/d) membrane desalination installation on the Gulf coast of Saudi Arabia. It forms part of the world's largest desalination facility, and along with a new water transportation pipeline transforms the picture for potable water in Riyadh, one of the world's fastest-growing and most water-stressed cities.

Who is responsible?
The plant was procured and is owned and operated by Saudi Arabia's Saline Water Conversion Corporation, the world's largest desalination infrastructure operator. It was built under an EPC contract signed with Korean contractor Doosan, alongside civil works contractor Saudi Archirodon and design consultant Pöyry. Toyobo supplied the RO membranes, while FEDCO took responsibility for the supply of energy recovery devices.

What makes it special?

  • The sheer scale of the project – it is the largest membrane facility ever to be built in the Gulf, and the largest in the world to feature DAF pre-treatment – amply demonstrates that reverse osmosis can easily cope with the difficult-to-treat feedwaters of the Gulf, where high salinity and red tides are the norm. The use of heavy-duty DAF/DMF pretreatment to combat the oppressive environmental conditions proved once and for all that membrane desal is a serious contender in the GCC.
  • The growing confidence in, and appetite for membrane desalination in Saudi Arabia is paving the way for an energy-efficient regional desal portfolio ready to withstand the changing approach to energy generation in the Middle East. As countries diversify away from oil as a feedstock, the establishment of excellence in membrane desalination opens up further potential for exploring solar and other renewable sources of energy for desalination.
  • The speedy completion of the membrane element of the project, along with dedicated features like the installation of a dedicated wastewater treatment plant to deal with DAF sludge, proved that even the most complex and extensive of projects can be delivered effectively in the Kingdom. The fact that the project notched up 24 million hours of accident-free construction activity in 2014 is testament to the fact that a project's size can easily be matched by its commitment to health and safety, and earned it a special commendation from SWCC.

 


 

Water Reuse Project of the Year

For the project, delivered during 2014, that represents the most significant advancement in terms of water reuse.

Blue Plains Thermal Hydrolysis Facility, USA

What is it?
The world's largest thermal hydrolysis sludge treatment and biogas generation facility, retrofitted to one of North America's largest wastewater treatment plants, serving over 4 million people in Washington, D.C.

Who is responsible?
Cambi A/S provided its proprietary thermal hydrolysis technology to DC Water as part of a $210 million biosolids process train designed and built by a CDM Smith and PC Construction joint venture.

What makes it special?

  • The 450 dry tons/day thermal hydrolysis facility, which began processing sludge in late 2014, is Cambi's flagship global installation. More than 25% larger than its next biggest operational plant, it proved a vital reference when successfully negotiating two landmark deals to install the technology for Beijing Drainage Group in China.
  • No other single project can be credited with reducing the US capital's greenhouse gas emissions by a greater margin. Boosting biogas yields while simultaneously accelerating the efficiency of the digestion process, it has cut DC Water's solid materials production in half, and slashed its energy consumption by a third. The technology is delivering measurable benefits for both public health (by minimising Class B biosolids) and the environment (the plant will generate 20MW/year of clean electricity by 2020).
  • The retrofit has transformed the economics of running one of America's largest wastewater treatment facilities. Cambi's elegant solution will save the client $20 million every year in operational costs, including around $10 million in sludge disposal costs, all thanks to an upfront capital outlay that is lower than that of a conventional digester.
Distinction: Kooragang Industrial Water Scheme, Australia

What is it?
A groundbreaking wastewater recycling scheme featuring a 9,000m3/d advanced water treatment plant which polishes treated municipal wastewater from the Shortland wastewater treatment plant and supplies the clean water via an 8km pipeline to industrial users on Kooragang Island.

Who is responsible?
The Hunter Treatment Alliance – a partnership involving CH2M Hill, Lend Lease (formerly Abigroup) and Hunter Water Corporation – designed and built the A$40 million plant for Hunter Water, with the help of A$4.2 million from the government's Water for the Future programme. Veolia will operate the facility going forward. Pall and Hydranautics respectively provided the MF and RO membranes.

What makes it special?

  • The effect of this scheme has been truly transformational for lead offtaker Orica. The chemicals manufacturer, which had been Hunter Water's most prolific consumer of drinking water, helped secure the financial viability of the project by committing to a long-term offtake agreement in advance. Through the use of recycled water it has boosted its sustainability profile, moving it from the largest consumer in the region to the 19th-largest overnight.
  • With 8% of all sewage processed in the Hunter Valley now being cleaned and sold on, the region is rapidly unlocking long-untapped revenue streams. Demand for the reused water is high across the commercial spectrum, with power stations, dairy farms and golf courses all competing for the new water source. Kooragang is a taste of things to come in New South Wales.
  • Australia's commitment to driving sustainability remains unmatched. Even as it champions the value inherent in wastewater, Hunter Water has also kept its eye on the environmental impact, planting 300,000 native trees to ensure the new infrastructure offsets its carbon footprint.
Winner: Silicon Valley AWTP, USA

What is it?
The largest advanced water treatment project in Northern California, the Silicon Valley Advanced Water Purification Center (SVAWPC) uses microfiltration, reverse osmosis and ultraviolet disinfection to clean secondary treated municipal wastewater to stringent reuse standards.

Who is responsible?
Black & Veatch provided design services, construction support and start-up services. Doosan Hydro supplied the membrane system, using CSM membranes. Xylem's Wedeco division furnished the UV system. J.R. Filanc was the general construction contractor. The project was a collaborative effort between the Santa Clara Valley Water District (SCVWD) and the City of San Jose, California.

What makes it special?

  • The plant's initial water treatment capacity of 8MGD (30,283m3/d) is just the beginning, as a sea change in water management gets underway in the San Francisco Bay area. As the drought continues unabated across California, Silicon Valley is harnessing its technical prowess to reduce its dependence on imported water from the Sacramento/San Joaquin Delta, which depends on fast-receding mountain glaciers. The SCVWD intends to expand Santa Clara County's use of recycled water from 5% of total demand to 10% by 2025.
  • Much of the treatment plant's importance stems from the precedent it sets. Initially the clean effluent will be blended with recycled water from other sources and used for irrigating crops, watering golf courses and parks, and for industrial uses, including cooling towers. With potable reuse on the cards in the long term, the plant is designed to be a key component in the fight to overcome historical 'toilet-to-tap' fears.
  • By reducing its reliance on the energy-intensive process of importing water over vast distances, SCVWD is reducing both its water and its carbon footprint. As the first wastewater reuse facility in the area, it also greatly reduces effluent discharge into the waters of San Francisco Bay.
Victor Valley biogas project, USA

What is it?
A retrofit of a high-solids mixer and recuperative thickener to the 14MGD (52,990m3/d) Victorville wastewater treatment plant in California's High Desert region.

Who is responsible?
The Victor Valley Wastewater Reclamation Authority (VVWRA) enlisted waste-to-energy specialist Anaergia to install its proprietary technology in order to enhance biogas production at its wastewater treatment plant. The California Energy Commission's (CEC) Public Interest Energy Research (PIER) programme provided a $2 million grant, and Anaergia provided the remaining $700,000.

What makes it special?

  • The VVWRA's bold decision to install Anaergia's Omnivore technology has enabled it to triple biogas production. The staggering increase allows it to meet 90% of its energy requirements through biogas generated in its anaerobic digesters, saving over $400,000 per year. As it continues to take on extra FOG (fat, oils and grease) waste streams to boost its biogas generation, it expects to be completely self-sufficient in 2015, and to become a net energy exporter in the future.
  • Even as it takes on greater volumes of anaerobically digestible waste, the authority is not seeing a requisite increase in sludge production, owing to the Omnivore's voracious appetite for maximising solids destruction – meaning more gas without more solids to dispose of.
  • As the first utility in North America to install Anaergia's groundbreaking new technology, the VVWRA has put Victorville on the map, making it a destination for like-minded water pioneers. The VVWRA's unswerving faith in Anaergia has also seen it pilot the company's Fibracast hybrid membrane bioreactor as it looks to further improve its water reuse credentials.

Industrial Water Project of the Year

For the project, commissioned in 2014, that represents the most impressive technical or environmental achievement in the field of industrial water.

Winner: Jurong Industrial Water Reuse Pilot, Singapore

What is it?
A 1MIGD (4,546m3/d) industrial wastewater treatment pilot alongside the existing Jurong Water Reclamation Plant in Singapore. The demonstration facility treats effluent streams from a mix of local industrial water users in the food & beverage and petrochemical industries.

Who is responsible?
PUB, Singapore's national water utility, and Meiden Singapore – a subsidiary of Japanese equipment manufacturer Meidensha – developed the plant. Funding came from both partners and the Singapore government-funded Technology Pioneer (TechPioneer) Scheme, which exists to bankroll the test-bedding of new technologies in Singapore.

What makes it special?

  • In this facility, PUB and Meidensha have combined Upflow Anaerobic Sludge Blanket (UASB) technology with a ceramic membrane bio-reactor for the first time in Singapore. This unique technology pairing will allow PUB to on-sell industrial-grade water resulting from high-fouling and toxic wastewater streams, while also producing biogas for on-site power generation.
  • This is the first time that PUB has directly produced industrial-grade water from industrial wastewater. On a larger scale, the process has the potential to free up significant volumes of NEWater (reclaimed municipal wastewater) to meet rising demand elsewhere in the island state.
  • The successful commissioning of the Jurong pilot facility adds an important new weapon to PUB's arsenal of treatment options, just as it develops the next generation of treatment facilities in Singapore, starting with the Tuas Water Reclamation Plant. This state-of-the-art facility will be built on reclaimed land, and will eventually replace the ageing Jurong and Ulu Pandan plants.
Ordos ZLD facility, China

What is it?
A 4,800m3/d concentrated industrial zero liquid discharge (ZLD) plant treating wastewater streams from upstream water and wastewater facilities serving the Chinacoal Tuke Fertilizer production facility in Ordos, a city in the Chinese province of Inner Mongolia.

Who is responsible?
Coal-to-chemicals plant owner Chinacoal Ordos Energy Chemicals brought on East China Engineering Science & Technology (ECEC) as the EPC contractor for the project, which in turn selected Aquatech International to implement a wastewater recycling and ZLD system on a turnkey basis.

What makes it special?
l Aquatech's remit was to treat an exceptionally challenging feedwater stream chock-full of phenols, ammonia and heavy metals. Meeting the client's target of 90% reusable recovery based on a feedwater TDS of around 25,000 mg/l represents a truly stellar achievement.
l As conventional reverse osmosis would have been unable to deal with the complex industrial brine mix, Aquatech used its High-Efficiency Reverse Osmosis (HERO) technology to maximise recovery. The HERO brine effluent – with a TDS of up to 90,000 mg/l – is fed into a falling film brine concentrator unit, before the residual moisture is sent to a solar evaporation pond.
l The Ordos facility is by far Aquatech's largest reference in the burgeoning Chinese coal-to-chemicals market. The company has manoeuvred itself into prime position to capitalise on the booming CTX water treatment market in China. With zero liquid discharge mandated for most facilities in the arid and sensitive natural environment of northern China, Aquatech is racing ahead of its competitors.

Distinction: Ujams Industrial Water Reclamation Plant, Namibia

What is it?
A landmark 5,175m3/d wastewater treatment plant in Namibia's capital, Windhoek, using membrane bioreactor technology to clean complex industrial effluent to reuse standards.

Who is responsible?
A consortium of VA Tech Wabag (78.9%), Veolia (17%) and CIM GmbH (4.1%) brought the plant online in October 2014 after winning a BOOT contract tendered by the City of Windhoek. The joint venture, known as Ujams Wastewater Treatment Company (UWTC), will operate the plant for 21 years. GE Water & Process Technologies supplied the MBR system, while Xylem's Wedeco division furnished the UV system. KfW's private sector investment arm, Deutsche Investitions- und Entwicklungsgesellschaft (DEG), provided a ZAR100 million (€7.3 million) loan to cover around three quarters of the construction costs.

What makes it special?

  • Windhoek continues to be a global pioneer of water reuse. Simultaneously the first industrial water reclamation plant and the first wastewater MBR plant in Namibia, the Ujams project is the latest in a long line of innovations. Veolia and Wabag previously joined forces to commission the world's first direct potable reuse plant in Windhoek back in 2001.
  • While consumers worldwide remain squeamish about the toilet-to-tap process, Namibia – the most arid country in sub-Saharan Africa – has been using recycled water for a wide variety of applications for more than a decade. This project will see effluent treated to standards suitable not only for industrial process water and irrigation, but also for blending in with the city's drinking water at the Swakoppoort Dam.
  • The complex range of contaminants in the feedwater – a blend of wastewater streams from a brewery, an abattoir, a tannery, a beverage company and a chocolate producer – presented a serious challenge. With a successful seven-month onsite trial, Wabag proved the mettle of an innovative treatment train using its proprietary fine sieving pre-treatment product, Micropur. Combining this with MBR, UV disinfection, sludge treatment and exhaust air treatment, UWTC leveraged the best expertise the private sector had to offer to make its partnership work.
VSB Jeceaba utilities complex, Brazil

What is it?
A utilities complex in Minas Gerais, Brazil, providing water supply and effluent treatment services to one of Latin America's foremost steel production facilities.

Who is responsible?
Odebrecht Ambiental financed, built and is operating all water and wastewater treatment plants and all electricity distribution and solid waste management facilities for steel producer Vallourec & Sumitomo Tubos Brazil (VSB) in Jeceaba. Haztec and Aquamec provided decanters, dewatering presses and coarse solids separators, while Siemens provided electrical equipment. Brazilian company Perenne provided the demineralised water plant (using Toray membranes) and JPNOR, EPC and SEI helped with the system design.

What makes it special?

  • Odebrecht's oversight and deep understanding of all aspects of the water lifecycle is what makes this inherently complex project brilliant. The treatment process consists of 21 circuits, passing through six treatment complexes, until 98% of the water is treated to reuse standards.
  • 24,000m3 of industrial, potable and demineralised water is provided to the site daily, mainly to make up for the evaporation losses inherent in the complex system. The intensive reuse circuit, whereby the operator redirects the blowdown in some systems to be used as makeup water in other systems, means that the complex has a staggering aggregate wastewater treatment capacity of 538,000m3/d. This circulation process drastically reduces the amount of wastewater sent to the effluent treatment system, and consequently the need for the purchase of industrial water from external sources.
  • This project is the largest outsourced utilities complex in the Brazilian steel industry, and proved to be a mammoth undertaking. First contracted in 2009, the staggered start-up schedule meant that it was not able to show off its full operational capacity until 2014, when VSB's blast furnaces roared into action.

Water Deal of the Year

For the deal, signed in 2014, which has made the biggest contribution to the advancement of private sector participation in the international water sector.

Benin water PPPs

What is it?
Four pilot water supply concessions serving 41,000 people in Benin, West Africa. The 8-year concessions were awarded to three local private water operators in August and September 2014.

Who is responsible?
The International Finance Corporation (IFC), in collaboration with the World Bank’s Water and Sanitation Program (WB-WSP), served as lead transaction advisor to the Government of Benin. Financial support was provided by DevCo, which is funded by DFID, the Austrian Development Agency, the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and the Swedish International Development Agency.

What makes it special?

  • Since emerging from its first democratic elections in 2006, Benin has faced the challenge of delivering basic services to its 10 million-strong population, a third of which are struggling to survive on less than $1.25 a day. Engaging the private sector to rehabilitate, operate and maintain water supply systems without increasing tariffs was a key step towards achieving this goal.
  • Private management of water supply systems was introduced in Benin in 2006, but the initial schemes frequently suffered from a lack of capacity on the part of local private operators, as well as weak contractual arrangements. In response, the IFC successfully structured a series of pilot PPPs which were both competitively tendered and rooted in a robust regulatory framework with sustainable risk allocation.
  • Historically, water infrastructure in Benin has been funded by central government. This project not only involves a capital expenditure subsidy funded through a grant from the Netherlands Cooperation Programme – its success in mobilising local commercial banks to commit debt and equity to fund vital water infrastructure presages a wider roll-out of the initiative across the country. The scheme offers resounding evidence that rural African water infrastructure is a bankable proposition.
Distinction: DC Water green bond

What is it?
A $350 million 100-year bond launched in July 2014 to part-fund the $2.6 billion Clean Rivers Project, which involves the construction of a deep tunnel system to transport stormwater and sewage to the Blue Plains Advanced Wastewater Treatment Plant. The bond carries an interest rate of 4.814%.

Who is responsible?
The client is DC Water, the water utility serving Washington, D.C. The joint-bookrunners for the bond were Goldman Sachs and Barclays. PFM acted as the client's financial advisor. Vigeo provided an independent opinion on the bond's sustainability credentials.

What makes it special?

  • DC Water underscored its reputation as a progressive pioneer in the public water utility space by launching its first ever green bond in July 2014. The issue marked the first municipal century bond ever to have been issued by a US water utility, and will allow DC Water to match the lifetime of its assets with that of its liabilities more closely than ever before.
  • As the market for green bonds exploded exponentially throughout 2014, the lack of formal regulation raised fears over "greenwashing". DC Water's decision to solicit a third-party opinion on the environmental, social and governance impact of its issuance marked the first time a US issuer had brought an independently certified green bond to market.
  • The choice of a 100-year maturity not only allowed DC Water to lock in historically low interest rates over an ultra-long repayment period, but will allow the costs of the infrastructure it is funding to be spread over several generations. The deal also served as a blueprint for the development of the US green bond sector as a whole, paving the way for a steady stream of water-related green bonds from Connecticut right across to Washington State.
Liberty Water/CAGRD Recycled Water Recharge Scheme

What is it?
A deal to construct Arizona's first public-private recycled water recharge facility. The project will enable the reuse of up to 5,000 acre-feet per year (16,760m3/d) of high-quality municipal effluent through groundwater recharge. The Central Arizona Groundwater Replenishment District (CAGRD) is contributing $6.1 million to the project, while Liberty Utilities is contributing $1.2 million.

Who is responsible?
Liberty Utilities, a private water and wastewater utility owned by Canada's Algonquin Power and Utilities Corp., will build, own and operate the groundwater recharge facility. The Central Arizona Groundwater Replenishment District (CAGRD) is the client. WestWater Research acted as CAGRD's transaction advisor.

What makes it special?

  • With the Colorado River seriously overstretched and seawater desalination not an option, land-locked states in the arid US Southwest are seeking ingenious new ways to secure scarce water resources in the face of drought and changing demographics. The groundbreaking public-private partnership signed in February 2014 between Liberty Utilities and the CAGRD will enable treated effluent from Liberty's Palm Valley Water Reclamation Facility on the outskirts of Phoenix to be recharged to the local aquifer for subsequent extraction, whilst generating tradeable recharge credits.
  • The transaction forms part of CAGRD's Water Supply Program, which has a statutory mandate to replenish excess groundwater withdrawn by its members. Crucially, the deal provides CAGRD with access to a minimum of 2,400 AFY (8,044m3/d) of renewable water supplies via a 100-year lease agreement and access to an existing conveyance pipeline, as well as the right to purchase additional recharge credits from Liberty.
  • The deal's unique profile utilises a public-private partnership to promote indirect potable reuse in a whole new way. It provides an important template for financing future water recycling projects throughout the US Southwest by monetising undervalued effluent supplies using a mix of private and public capital.
Winner: Mirfa IWPP financing

What is it?
A $1.5 billion financing package to fund the construction of the 238,665m3/d & 1,100MW independent water and power project at Mirfa in Abu Dhabi. The package has a 80:20 debt to equity split, with the $1.2 billion debt package structured under a 'soft' mini-perm loan agreement.

Who is responsible?
The project company is split between GdF Suez (20%) and the Abu Dhabi Electricity & Water Authority (80%). Thirteen banks provided debt funding: Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank, Crédit Agricole, First Gulf Bank, HSBC, KfW IPEX Bank, Mitsubishi UFJ, Mizuho Bank, National Bank of Abu Dhabi, SMBC, Sumitomo Mitsui Trust Bank, Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi, Shizuoka Bank, and Union National Bank.

What makes it special?

  • In a groundbreaking move, the use of a mini-perm debt finance structure was written into the deal right from the start. The seven-year initial loan period will allow the project company to refinance the debt at a more attractive rate once construction risk is eliminated, whilst also allowing it to tap new sources of finance such as the bond markets. The deal attracted an impressive level of oversubscription, resulting in an aggressive 110-basis-point initial margin.
  • The unexpected departure of GdF's bidding partner Sojitz meant the team had to recreate the financial package from scratch at the eleventh hour. The consummate financial nous shown by GdF Suez – and the flexibility shown by ADWEA when raising its equity stake to plug the gap – engendered a high level of respect among the lender community, convincing commercial banks to flood back to the project within weeks.
  • The departure of Sojitz meant the project company could no longer rely on attracting Japanese export credit financing, which has long been a mainstay of the regional project market. Such was the confidence shown by the project company, however, that all Japanese commercial lenders kept their faith right through until financial close, despite the lack of involvement from Japanese developers and contractors.

Water Technology Company of the Year

For the company which has made the most significant contribution to the field of water technology in 2014.

Fathom

What is it?
The software-as-a-service (SaaS) provider which was spun out of Global Water Resources in 2013. The company's platform focusses on driving efficiencies in fragmented water utility operations through the collection and interpretation of big data. It is majority owned by XPV Capital.

What has it done?
Having started life as a fledgling unit within a regulated water utility business, Fathom has rapidly built momentum through a series of shrewd acquisitions and intelligent partnerships to become the leading SaaS provider in the water industry, with more than 4 million meters on its roster.

What makes it special?

  • 2014 will be remembered as the year when Fathom truly broke into the mainstream. As the first cloud-based, geo-spatial billing platform in the water sector, its potential to bring economies of scale to a fragmented sector whilst impacting utilities' bottom lines is increasingly being recognised as a key business driver, even among risk-averse utility managers. The company grew its revenue base by more than 100% last year alone.
  • The water sector is frequently eclipsed as a career choice by the appeal of sexier industries such as telecoms and software. The dynamism inherent in the rapid adoption of Fathom's cloud-based software solution means that the company has been able to attract some of Silicon Valley's best and brightest minds as software engineers, at the expense of more established giants such as Apple and Google.
  • As Fathom's business development machine gears up to break through the 10 million meter barrier, its potential has not gone unnoticed by the investment community. After leading water investor XPV Capital bought into the company in 2013, Fathom succeeded in negotiating a further $25 million equity injection from Silverlake Kraftwerk in autumn 2014 – one of the most significant investments in the water software arena to date.
Heilongjiang Interchina Water

What is it?
A publicly traded Chinese water and wastewater project developer with big plans for expansion in the Chinese rural and industrial sector through advanced technologies.

What has it done?
Interchina has steadily strengthened its technological competitiveness in order to win market share in the fast-growing rural and industrial markets in China. It not only sealed several tech deals last year, but also leveraged the expertise acquired through its participation in a series of global technology companies, winning several new contracts as a result

What makes it special?

  • Interchina has built an impressive portfolio of proprietary technologies through acquisitions which enhance its competitive advantage. Stakes in Josab (Sweden) and Sichuan Estone (China) have brought the company expertise in small-scale treatment solutions suitable for rural areas, while a minority holding in Aquaporin (Denmark) has given it access to cutting-edge membrane technology geared towards industrial wastewater treatment.
  • 2014 saw Interchina take its technology to the Chinese rural market as never before, as it secured contracts to provide water and wastewater services to rural areas in three of China's largest provinces (Sichuan, Heilongjiang and Shandong).
  • A milestone industrial BOT project signed in 2014 to treat high-saline wastewater at an industrial park in Inner Mongolia leveraged a new string in Interchina's bow – the Disc Tube RO technology it acquired via the takeover of Beijing Tiandiren Environmental Protection (Beijing TDR) in 2013.
Winner: MetaWater

What is it?
A Japanese water treatment plant provider and technology supplier specialising in ceramic membrane filtration and ozone generation systems.

What has it done?
A leader in its domestic market for drinking water treatment, MetaWater continued its international expansion in 2014, establishing two of the largest ceramic membrane filtration plants in the world. Its successful initial public offering (IPO) in December raised $222 million of fresh capital to invest in the next stage of the company's growth.

What makes it special?

  • 2014 was the breakthrough year for ceramic membranes, and MetaWater was at the heart of that, thanks to its involvement in the 120,000m3/d Andijk III drinking water treatment plant in the Netherlands, and the completion of the 172,800m3/d Cerarocca Purification Plant in Yokohama.
  • MetaWater's systems often seem expensive in terms of up-front costs, but it has a formidable record of delivering the lowest lifecycle costs. In 2014 it went a step further, committing its own balance sheet to financing two projects – the Yokohama Cerarocca plant, and a wastewater treatment plant serving a fish processing factory in Onagawa. This is a revolutionary new business model for the Japanese water sector.
  • Besides ceramic membranes, MetaWater's technology portfolio spans ozone systems, monitoring and control systems, high-rate filtration, sludge drying, and incineration. In 2014, it proved that these technologies could make an important contribution to water systems in developing markets, securing contract awards in Myanmar, Cambodia, and Vietnam.
Distinction: SKion GmbH

What is it?
The investment vehicle backed by German industrialist Susanne Klatten. Its specialist water investment arm has rapidly built up a diverse portfolio of global water interests over the last four years.

What has it done?
In 2014, SKion added to its already impressive list of water assets by taking minority stakes in sludge carbonisation specialist Pyreg GmbH and biocatalytic water treatment company Microvi Biotechnologies. It also bought German engineering, procurement and construction contractor Stulz Planaqua out of bankruptcy, marking the first time it has taken a 100% stake in a water business

What makes it special?

  • From a standing start, SKion has built up an enviable portfolio of water technologies, becoming one of the most dynamic players in the sector. Its commitment extends far beyond that of a financier – the close-knit team has simultaneously developed an understanding of the water technology sector which is virtually unrivalled in the investment industry.
  • SKion's pedigree as a discreet family office means that it is under no pressure either to enter or exit investments. Its long investment horizon and proven approach to nurturing game-changing water technologies through to commercial success means that it is uniquely synchronised with the cycles of the water industry.
  • As SKion's water platform has grown in size and diversity, the cross-selling opportunities have become more and more exciting. While the established plant contractors in the portfolio have direct access to an ever-growing pool of cutting-edge solutions, technology companies at an earlier stage of development can gain access to new markets by using the group's broad network of contacts, all while retaining their brand and entrepreneurial spirit. It is this approach which marks SKion out as one of the most forward-thinking pioneers active in the water technology space today.

Water Performance Initiative of the Year

For the initiative which represents the most significant commitment to improving the long-term performance of water services to the public.

Winner: Adelaide Metropolitan Water Distribution Network, Australia

What is it?
An initiative to digitise and strengthen the resilience of the distribution network owned by state-owned utility SA Water, which provides drinking water to more than 1.5 million customers in South Australia.

Who is responsible?
SA Water has transformed the day-to-day operations of Adelaide's water supply system by leveraging advanced analytical technology in order to optimise the entire distribution network, from source to tap. MWH Global brought the expertise, Optimatics provided the optimisation software, and C3 Global (which has since been acquired by Bentley Systems) delivered the data analytics platform

What makes it special?

  • SA Water has transformed Adelaide's water network into a dynamic organism by adopting a suite of smart water technologies which combine real-time operational data with climate, energy, and population data to predict future demand. In doing so, it has minimised its cost of operations whilst maximising security of supply for more than 1 million customers.
  • While the move is a direct response to increasing urbanisation and a drying climate, it also makes sense for the utility's bottom line. In the year ending 30 June 2014, SA Water saved over US$2.35 million in energy costs, and in the last six months of 2014, it slashed a further US$313,000 from its operational expenditure.
  • Climate change, suburban growth and severe drought continue to present very real challenges to South Australia's future water security, and SA Water has invested heavily to address the situation. A US$313 million infrastructure project linking Adelaide's historically separate northern and southern water zones through a series of new pipelines and pump stations was completed in 2014, allowing the transfer of water from the Adelaide Desalination Plant to wherever it is needed.
Distinction: Denver Water Sustainability, USA

What is it?
A collaborative initiative to meet the water resourcing challenges faced by Denver Water, the utility providing raw and treated water to 1.3 million people in the city of Denver, Colorado, and the surrounding suburbs.

Who is responsible?
Denver Water is relentlessly driving its global sustainability profile forward with an impressive master plan that addresses water demand and supply issues head-on. A sparkling display of cooperation, innovation and leadership has seen it secure three landmark deals to safeguard the future of this water-scarce area

What makes it special?

  • 2014 saw the launch of the Colorado River System Conservation Program – a mammoth collaborative effort undertaken by four neighbouring utilities and the federal Bureau of Reclamation – to fund innovative compensation schemes to incentivise large-scale water reuse. The $11 million pilot fund, to which Denver Water contributed $2 million, is designed to fathom how much water could be made available from agricultural, municipal and industrial water entitlement holders across seven states in an emergency situation.
  • Meanwhile, Denver Water finished a key pipeline purchase deal with South Metro Water to make the Water Infrastructure and Supply Efficiency (WISE) partnership a reality. The scheme will see Denver Water buy in water supplies from Aurora's Prairie Waters Project – an indirect potable reuse scheme built to save the City of Aurora from an impending water crisis in 2010. Denver Water, and several smaller communities south of Denver which rely excessively on depleting groundwater resources, will share Aurora's excess capacity while Aurora boosts its revenue stream. A triple-win solution.
  • Over the past year, the Colorado River Cooperative Agreement (CRCA), led by Denver Water, has finally addressed long-standing disputes between east- and west-slope interests over water use in western Colorado. Mediating among 18 entities to resolve legal disputes and securing acceptances for future water transfers, Denver Water has acted decisively to safeguard tomorrow's water supply – today.
Ejby Mølle WWTP Energy Optimisation, Denmark

What is it?

A project to optimise energy consumption at the Ejby Mølle wastewater treatment plant (EMWWTP), the largest wastewater treatment facility in Odense in Denmark, with a capacity of 385,000p.e. The plant is owned and operated by Vand Center Syd (VCS) Denmark, which is owned by the municipalities of Odense and North Funen.

Who is responsible?
In 2012, VCS Denmark brought on a team of CH2M Hill and Ramboll Denmark to identify and implement a series of energy optimisation measures as part of its goal to design the WWTP of the future. In 2014 the mission was accomplished, as the EMWWTP became net energy-positive, generating power equal to more than 100% of the electricity it consumes

What makes it special?

  • EMWWTP is one of the very few wastewater treatment facilities in the world which can truly call itself net energy-positive, setting a revolutionary example to other utilities. This project shows that incremental improvements can still be made, even in a technically advanced facility.
  • Using CH2M Hill's Pro2D analysis tool, the consultants identified 35 potential operational modifications that would improve the energy efficiency of the plant – without violating any of Denmark's stringent effluent discharge requirements. The suite of leading-edge technological solutions deployed includes replacing oxidation ditches with fine-bubble diffused aeration systems, and using Grontmij's deammonification-based nitrogen removal process to cut CO2 emissions.
  • Economically, the upgrade makes long-term business sense. The full investment cost (including consulting and in-house design costs) came to $2.5 million, while the resultant cost savings are pegged at $210,000 a year. Lowering greenhouse gas emissions enabled the client to evade punitive carbon taxes, while on-selling heat and green electricity brings in extra revenues which will continue long after the initial investment is paid back.
Gulhi energy-positive desalination, Maldives

What is it?
A combined cooling and seawater desalination system for the island of Gulhi in the Maldives.

Who is responsible?
The Aquiva Foundation provided the memsys membrane distillation system for the state electric company

What makes it special?

  • The Maldives are at the forefront of the fight against climate change: a one metre rise in the sea level would obliterate the entire country. At the same time, the islands are dependent on inefficient diesel generators for their electricity supply – and indirectly for their desalinated water supply. This is a challenge, as the growing economy needs more power and water – without adding to greenhouse gas emissions. The Aquiva project squares the circle by using the cooling loop of a diesel generator to drive a membrane distillation unit, producing fresh water and simultaneously achieving a net 8% gain in energy production.
  • The membrane distillation unit uses no anti-scalants, which will significantly reduce potential damage to the delicate corals which surround the island.
  • The project is run on a social business model by the Aquiva Foundation, enabling the profits from the sale of water to fund further projects in the island nation.

Water Leaders Award

The Water Leaders Award rewards performance improvements in public water utilities in the developing world over the past year.

• The eThekwini Municipality, which has been at the forefront of exploring technical and social solutions throughout Durban. A large annual increase in new water connections is changing the lives of thousands as well as driving sustainability.

Distinction: • Azersu in Azerbaijan, which has increased its customer base by more than 105,000 people and has undertaken major performance transformation including infrastructure upgrades for water supply, treatment, information technology, customer information systems and smart networks.

The Liberia Water and Sewer Corporation, which has increased water access by over 300% at the same time as significantly decreasing non-revenue water, and building greater financial sustainability. Infrastructure expansion in Central Monrovia continues increase access further.

Winner: • And the Chennai Metropolitan Water Supply And Sewerage Board, which fast-tracked its innovative resilience plan amidst acute water scarcity. Water was sourced from coal mines, recycled water, rainwater and seawater to protect the city from a full scale water crisis.


The Corporate Water Stewardship Award

The Corporate Water Stewardship Award honours the company which best reflects the objectives of the 2030 Water Resources Group in achieving creative solutions for improving water security.

BHP Billiton Iron Ore, Australia

What is it?
A major iron ore mining company.

What has it done?
Proving that mining and sustainability can go hand in hand is often a tricky prospect. By applying sustainable groundwater management techniques, BHP Billiton Iron Ore has succeeded in achieving a record-breaking level of iron ore production in Australia's parched Pilbara region, whilst protecting cultural and environmental values and boosting the security and long-term sustainability of groundwater supplies.

What makes it special?

  • BHP Billiton has systematically returned over 60,000m3/d of fresh mine dewatering surplus into the regional aquifer, exceeding its corporate sustainability target of 50%. In 2014, an average of 70% of mine surplus water was recharged.
  • The company simultaneously developed a regional network of 250 monitoring facilities over a 25,000km2 area outside the mine gate to monitor baseline weather and hydrological conditions and provide early warning of significant change events.
  • Impacts to culturally significant springs and creeks were minimised, and aquifer recharge is now business as usual for BHP Billiton.
Hindustan Zinc, India

What is it?
A major integrated zinc-lead producer, and a subsidiary of Vedanta Resources.

What has it done?
The strong economic and demographic growth in Udaipur, one of India's most popular tourist destinations, has not been matched by appropriate investment in wastewater infrastructure. Hindustan Zinc, Udaipur Municipal Corporation and Rajasthan state-owned Urban Improvement Trust teamed up to develop the city's first wastewater treatment plant using a public-private partnership.
What makes it special?

What makes it special?

  • The 20,000m3/d plant has the capacity to treat around 30% of Udaipur's wastewater. Effluent which had historically been discharged directly to the environment is now treated and reused in Hindustan Zinc's Rajpura Dariba Mining & Smelting Complex, situated 80km outside the city. This has resulted in a significant reduction in fresh water consumption at the site.
  • The plant marks the first deployment of moving bed bio-reactor (MBBR) technology in Rajasthan under a PPP model. Thermax India built the plant, which was funded by Hindustan Zinc at a cost of INR 1.7 billion ($27 million).
  • Hindustan Zinc is also providing INR10 million ($160,000) per year towards other environmental initiatives in Udaipur that will help the city to maintain its rich cultural heritage and natural beauty – vital if it is to maintain its appeal as a global tourist destination.
Distinction: TWIC, India

What is it?
Tamilnadu Water Investment Corporation is a project developer backed by IL&FS and the government of Tamilnadu.

What has it done?
TWIC built a series of nine common effluent treatment plants with a total capacity of 55,000m3/d for the textile cluster in Tirupur, Tamilnadu, bringing the wastewater treatment up to zero liquid discharge, dramatically cutting water consumption, and protecting the Noyyal river from pollution.

What makes it special?

  • In 2011, the Madras high court ordered the closure of all 730 dying and bleaching units, putting 100,000 workers out of work because of inadequate effluent treatment infrastructure. The CETPs have enabled the units to reopen.
  • The plants facilitate the reuse not only of the recovered water, but also of the brine and sodium sulphate salts.
  • Reuse cut the operational costs by 65%.
Winner: Nestlé S.A., Mexico

What is it?
A multinational food and beverage company.

What has it done?
Justifying a social licence to operate can be a daunting task, even for a household name like Nestlé. Recognising the importance of natural groundwater resources to the local population in Mexico's Jalisco State, the company transformed its Lagos de Moreno dairy factory into a water-free manufacturing site. The "Cero Agua" initiative allowed the milk powder manufacturing facility to become virtually independent from local groundwater, and will reduce Nestlé's water consumption in Mexico by 15%.

What makes it special?

  • Fresh cows' milk contains around 88% water. Nestlé's inspired solution to address local water scarcity is to extract and treat the water embedded in the milk for use as process water within the factory, using a series of advanced treatment technologies. The resulting effluent is then treated again for non-potable use, achieving genuine self-sufficiency by closing the loop.
  • Prior to this installation, the factory consumed almost two litres of groundwater for every litre of milk processed. The "Cero Agua" initiative has decreased Nestlé's dependency on groundwater to zero during normal operations, resulting in approximately 1 million m3 of water savings every year – enough to meet the average daily consumption of 6,400 Mexicans.
  • Following the success of the Jalisco initiative, Nestlé now plans to retrofit a number of its other dairy factories situated in water-stressed areas including South Africa, Pakistan, India and China, blazing a trail for the rest of the beverage industry to follow.
SCC (Heineken), Portugal

What is it?
Sociedade Central de Cervejas e Bebidas (SCC) is a brewery in Vialonga, Portugal. It is part of the Heineken Group.

What has it done?
In a water-intensive industry such as beer brewing, every drop counts. Sustainability is an anchor element of Heineken's Brewing a Better World plan, which aims to reduce the group's water consumption by 30% by 2020. By optimising the brewing process and installing advanced membrane treatment technologies, Heineken subsidiary SCC has succeeded in significantly reducing both its freshwater consumption and its wastewater discharge volumes.

What makes it special?

  • The tertiary treatment system incorporates GE reverse osmosis membranes, and significantly improves the quality of treated effluent, allowing it to be reused in the brewery's cooling towers and steam boilers.
  • Effluent discharges have been reduced by 82 million litres per year, while the brewing process now uses 30 litres less water per 100 litres of beer brewed.
  • The tertiary treatment installation has boosted the efficiency of the wastewater treatment process by 58%, whilst consuming 17% less electricity – a triple win for the environment, local residents and the company's bottom line.

Water Technology Idol

Presented to the early-stage company whose technology could change the future of the water market. Four new desal-related technologies were presented at the Summit. Following each presentation, the presenter was interviewed by four panelists before the audience voted on the technology that it considered to be most likely to live up to the presenter's expectations. The results were:

Winner: Spiral Water Technologies

Ashwin Gulati, the California-based company's CEO presented his company's automatic self-cleaning filter technology. Gulati said that the patented Spiral Water Filter is able to remove solids ranging in size from 10 to 100μm from flows with total suspended solids concentrations of up to 25,000 mg/L. The unit has a pressure drop of 1 psi (6 kPa) and does not require backflush, crossflow or booster pumps.

Distinction: TPTec

Espen Mansfeldt, the CEO of this Switzerland-based company thermal ZLD technology, presented its LTDis low temperature distillation unit for brine concentration and its LTDry low temperature dryer.

Anfiro

Jaime Mateus, CEO – This Massachusetts-based company will present its ultrahigh permeability, chlorine tolerant polymeric RO membrane.

G2O Membrane

Tim Harper, COO – The UK-based company will present its graphene coated UF membrane technology that is intended for oil-removal and high-fouling applications.