Skip to content

Global Water Intelligence is proud to announce the winners of the 2016 Global Water Awards. Presented by by Felipe Calderón, President of Mexico (2006 – 2012), Chairman of the Global Commission on the Economy and Climate, at a special ceremony to be held on the evening of 19 April 2016 at the Emirates Palace in Abu Dhabi, UAE.

Water Company of the Year
Desalination Company of the Year
Water Technology Company of the Year
Breakthrough Water Technology Company of the Year
Water Project of the Year
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 Leaders Award
Water Technology Idol
Clathrate desalination system


Water Company of the Year

For the water company that made the most significant contribution to the development of the international water sector in 2015.

Winner: Veolia

What is it?
A global water, waste and energy services provider committed to resourcing the world through creating shared value with its municipal and industrial clients.

What has it done?
After four years of turmoil, Veolia staged a dramatic return to form in 2015 as a leaner, more focused and dramatically effective water company, with its share price gaining 50% over the course of the year.

What makes it special?
In 2015, Veolia changed the basis of its engagement with clients by introducing the concept of “co-construction”, inventing new models of collaboration, seeking out areas of complementary expertise, and activating new partnerships with fund providers, civil society, local bodies, and clients. This new approach found success in a variety of creative new alliances with partners including food company Danone, IT specialist IBM, insurer Swiss Re, and social business networks Ashoka and Antropia.
The restructuring of the group to create One Veolia has created a lower-cost organisation, more tightly co-ordinated to deliver value to its clients. On the water side of the business, this has led to contract successes including the $275 million contract to design, build and operate a flowback and produced water treatment plant for Antero Resources in West Virginia, and a €445 million delegated water services contract in Lille, France.
Veolia has comprehensively defined what it means to be the world’s leading private water company. It has re-established its credentials as an efficient operator, while repositioning its offering to meet the aspirations of its municipal and industrial clients. Most importantly, it has moved its position at the table from sitting opposite the client in a zero-sum game to sitting next to them, working together to develop brilliant new solutions to some of the world’s toughest environmental challenges.

Distinction: Biwater

What is it?
A UK-based contractor and operator of water and wastewater treatment plants. Its US arm, Biwater Inc., supplies reverse osmosis systems.

What has it done?
2015 was a transformational year for Biwater. The shrewd sale of its desalination concession in the British Virgin Islands helped to restore the company’s financial strength, while the elimination of balance sheet debt and a much-reduced bonding position bolstered the group’s ability to go out and do what it does best – engineer unique deals with maximum impact in challenging jurisdictions.

What makes it special?
Biwater took its ability to put winning propositions in front of credit-challenged governments to a whole new level in 2015, securing a $1.2 billion deal with the Kurdistan government to supply more than 1 million m³/d of urgently needed water and wastewater treatment infrastructure to a population under increasing strain from an influx of refugees.
In the US, Biwater has built up one of the largest reference bases of installed reverse osmosis capacity in the business. Severe water shortages in California and Texas helped it secure a string of contract wins last year, as it increasingly becomes the supplier of choice.
Biwater’s export finance connections and in-house negotiating skills have enabled it to carve out a unique role as a deal broker, bringing bespoke financial, engineering, technical, and operational solutions to bear where they are most needed in the world. No other water company active today is as willing to engage where it really matters.


Desalination Company of the Year

For the desalination company which made the greatest overall contribution to the desalination industry in 2015.

Winner: Acciona Agua

What is it?
A Spanish EPC contractor and project developer active in the desalination, water and wastewater markets globally.

What has it done?
Acciona Agua had a stellar year in the international desalination market in 2015, commissioning its second-largest project ever – at Torrevieja in Spain – while winning a contract to supply a pair of reverse osmosis plants in Cape Verde. It also delivered on its commitment to revolutionise desalination in the Gulf, bringing the 136,383m³/d Fujairah F1 expansion in Abu Dhabi online in November, whilst securing a pair of flagship contracts in Qatar.

What makes it special?
Acciona Agua’s rise in the Gulf desalination market has been nothing short of meteoric. From a standing start in 2012, it succeeded in bringing the 136,383m³/d Fujairah F1 expansion online last year, and secured two important EPC contracts in Qatar in May. It is now the Spanish company with the single largest presence in the Gulf desalination market.
The GCC’s historical resistance to membrane desalination means that most EPC contractors would have been happy to be awarded Qatar’s first large-scale reverse osmosis facility (the 164,000m³/d Ras Abu Fontas A3 plant). Acciona made it a double whammy by simultaneously winning the contract to build the 284,000m³/d RO component of the Facility D plant, also in Qatar.
The success of Acciona Agua’s desalination business doesn’t just come down to skilful negotiation and forward-thinking process engineering. It is backed by a robust R&D team, which is developing the UltraDAF-Evo pre-treatment system to deal with algal blooms, the Hiflus membrane-based pre-treatment application, an energy-efficient backwash treatment system (Vetra), and HydroBionets, a wireless sensor to detect membrane soiling.

Distinction: Black and Veatch

What is it?
The water division of a global employee-owned engineering, consulting and construction company, with expertise covering membrane, thermal and hybrid systems for both brackish and seawater desalination systems.

What has it done?
Last year marked a new dawn in the company’s efforts to target dynamic high-value international markets, securing a dazzling array of marquee desalination contracts in crucial markets such as Saudi Arabia and Singapore. At the same time, it continued to prove its advanced water credentials at home – with the successful commissioning of the Orange County groundwater recharge project showing that desal expertise can help close the water cycle – while all the while pushing the boundaries of holistic water treatment and management through work with the WateReuse Research Foundation.

What makes it special?
The company has long been keen to rebalance its water business with a larger emphasis on international contracts. The securing of the contract to advise the Saline Water Conversion Corporation on Jeddah 4 – the first mass-scale membrane plant in Saudi Arabia – plus major consultancy wins with PUB in Singapore and the government of the Hong Kong SAR proves that B&V’s desalination credentials are making their mark on the largest clients in the most significant markets around the world.
As independent engineer on the Carlsbad desalination project, B&V was faced with a mind-boggling array of technical and permitting issues on one of the most complex and long-running projects in desal history. The successful commissioning of the plant in 2015 marks a staggering achievement for B&V, the Carlsbad team, and the desal industry as a whole.
The sharing of technological solutions between desalination and wastewater reuse is becoming more and more commonplace, partly thanks to the pioneering work undertaken by Black & Veatch’s pragmatic engineers. The company’s design blueprint for the expansion of the Orange County Groundwater Replenishment System in California – which came online last year – demanded a similar suite of technologies to brackish water desalination to achieve the same end result.


Water Technology Company of the Year

For the company which has made the most significant contribution to the field of water technology in 2015.

Winner: H2O Innovation

What is it?
A Quebec-based membrane systems, chemicals, and equipment supplier traded on the TSX Venture Exchange.

What has it done?
In 2015, H2O Innovation saw a 40% increase in revenues, driven by rapid growth across its technology portfolio. It commissioned the Clifton UF water treatment plant in Colorado – the first commercial installation using the company’s FiberFlex modules, and subsequently received 15 new orders for the system. Besides the advances in its core membrane business, the company has made significant steps forward in developing smart solutions for plant operations. It acquired Clearlogx, a chemical performance system for UF membranes, launched ProDose XPRT, which helps users predict scaling, and rolled out its SPMC remote monitoring solution for plant operations. Even the Piedmont couplings division has seen innovation, adding several new low-pressure membrane products to its offering.

What makes it special?
Larger companies have tried and failed to bring together the roles of systems integrator and chemical supplier. H2O Innovation has used smart technologies to bridge the two disciplines, creating a virtuous circle based on a greater understanding of the customer experience. This has led to better product innovation, increased market share, and greater opportunities to learn from customers.
The FiberFlex membrane module system changes the economics of membrane systems by freeing the customer from the need to buy replacement membranes from the same supplier. The fact that the system has taken off so rapidly is a sign of how much customers value this freedom.
H2O Innovation has demonstrated in 2015 that a small company with the right combination of creativity, entrepreneurialism, and dedication can shake up the established ways of the global water industry – and thrive. The rest of the world should take notice.

Distinction: GE Water & Process Technologies

What is it?
The water and fluid processing technology arm of General Electric.

What has it done?
The industrial giant has seen a spurt of innovation which resulted in the launch of a flurry of new technologies during 2015, including an energy-neutral wastewater treatment system based on its newly acquired Monsal technology, a membrane-aerated biofilm reactor (ZeeLung) that is four times more energy-efficient than existing aeration systems, a nanofiltration-based sulphate removal membrane for the offshore oil and gas industry, a new range of water treatment chemicals to address wax blockages and corrosion issues in oil and gas facilities, a new enhanced version of its InSight industrial internet solution to improve water system performance, and a new brine concentration system to handle flue gas desulphurisation waste, as well as a range of new membrane products.

What makes it special?
GE Water’s unique portfolio of technologies and water treatment chemicals gives the company exceptional insight into its customers’ problems, and it has used this insight to drive innovation across the company in a way which threatens to leave its competitors in the dust. No other water company has been as active in launching new products in 2015 than GE.
GE is the dominant player in the energy sector, serving both upstream and downstream markets in power generation. The desire to drive down energy costs for water users whilst minimising water costs for energy producers has become a key theme for innovation, ensuring that its propositions are equally compelling at $30/bbl oil as they were at $130/bbl oil.
With its “Unimpossible Missions” campaign, GE boasts how every day it pushes the boundaries of what is possible. In 2015, GE Water lived up to the claim, showing that even an industrial giant can be as creative as a Silicon Valley start-up. Such is the strength of the culture of innovation at GE.


Breakthrough Water Technology Company of the Year

For the early-stage technology company which made the most impressive commercial breakthrough into the global water technology market in 2015.

Winner: Desalitech

What is it?
The developer of a closed-circuit reverse osmosis system that recirculates the brine until it reaches a certain concentration before being expelled from the system.

What has it done?
Desalitech’s system delivers a dramatically higher recovery rate than traditional RO systems, while more exactly matching energy consumption to the actual osmotic pressure of the recirculating feedwater. Orders for the system tripled in 2015 as the technology turned mainstream.

What makes it special?
Desalitech is cutting a swathe through the market for commercial RO systems, notching up sales to Coca-Cola, Southern California Edison, and Novelis, among other Fortune 500 companies. With water efficiency a key priority for many industrial water users, Desalitech’s high-recovery, low-energy system has become the decisive solution.
Speaking at last year’s International Desalination Association World Congress, experts including Tony Fane, Menachem Elimelech, and Gary Amy are increasingly convinced that Desalitech’s closed-circuit desalination system offers a key pathway to drive the energy consumed in salt separation towards its thermodynamic minimum.
The slow build-up of salinity in aquifers and waterways is one of the great environmental challenges of our age. Desalitech’s breakthrough technology represents a remarkable step towards a practical, affordable solution.

Distinction: Orège

What is it?
A French company which has developed two proprietary technologies: the SOFHYS advanced oxidation system and the SLG biosolids conditioning process.

What has it done?
In 2015, Orège’s SLG technology became a global phenomenon, with sales in the US, Germany and France. Besides this rapid commercialisation, the company also developed its business model to offer a range of mobile and fixed facilities on lease and “try then buy” models, complementing the traditional equipment sales model.

What makes it special?
Besides reducing sludge volumes by up to 60%, the SLG system produces much higher dewatering and thickening capture rates resulting in a much cleaner filtrate return to the headworks. – and reduces odours. After Roquebrune on the Côte d’Azur fitted an SLG system, complaints about smells from the local wastewater treatment plant almost vanished in 2015.
Orège entered the US market at the beginning of last year, and by the end of 2015 had three pilot plants up and running, one of which – in Allentown (Pennsylvania) – led to an immediate commercial sale.
As wastewater treatment standards rise across the world, sludge volumes are becoming increasingly difficult to manage. Orège’s technology delivers impressive and immediate savings to every wastewater utility where sludge volumes have become a problem.


Water Project of the Year

For the water treatment plant, commissioned during 2015, that shows the greatest innovation in terms of optimising its physical or environmental footprint.

Winner: Mujib Dam Water Supply Project, Jordan

What is it?
A JOD11 million ($15.5 million) water supply scheme, completed in June 2015, involving a 5 MCM/yr (13,700m³/d) water treatment and transfer facility taking water from the Mujib Dam in Jordan to supply Karak city. The project features a UF/UV water treatment plant, reservoirs, pumping stations, and 20km of pipeline.

Who is involved?
The project was planned and procured by Jordan’s Ministry of Water and Irrigation (MWI) to a tight time schedule, in order to deal with the looming water crisis in Jordan. The project was co-funded by the Jordanian government and the Kuwait Fund for Arab Economic Development. The lead private contractor on the project was local firm Gama Engineering. Ultrafiltration membranes at the treatment plant came from Dow, while ProMinent provided the UV system.

What makes it special?
The groundwater supplies that had traditionally provided drinking water in Karak Province have become critically overstretched due to skyrocketing demand and increasingly arid conditions. By taking advantage of previously untapped resources, the MWI is adeptly facing up to the ongoing water issues in Jordan.
The surface water at the Mujib Dam suffers from high organic loads, microbiological pollution, and significant turbidity. By taking a tailored approach to water handling through the deployment of UF and UV treatment technologies, the water supply project reclaims a source of water that was previously disposed of into the Dead Sea, turning it into another weapon in the country’s water supply arsenal.
Despite its location in extremely challenging rocky terrain, the project achieved completion at an astonishing rate. The project went from planning to commissioning in just five months – a crucial achievement for such a critical piece of infrastructure.

Distinction: Croton Water Filtration Plant, USA

What is it?
A 290 MGD (1,098,000 m³/d) UV water filtration plant that can supply up to 30% of New York City’s water needs. The plant came online in 2015.

Who is responsible?
The New York City Department of Environmental Protection owns and operates the plant. The main contractor was a Skanska-Tully joint venture, with Haley & Aldrich as geotechnical consultants. Trojan UV was selected to provide a low-pressure, high-output UV system. Grimshaw Architects designed the surface structures.

What makes it special?
The Croton water system is New York City’s oldest, providing water to the city through the New Croton Aqueduct since 1842. In 1989, the US EPA enforced the Surface Water Treatment Rule, mandating all drinking water from surface sources to be filtered. Following several protracted system shutdowns in the 1990s and 2000s due to contamination, the upgraded plant will ensure a more reliable source of drinking water in future.
To build the largest underground filtration plant in the US, an 880-foot tunnel was drilled to divert water from the local aqueduct, with two more tunnels being bored to channel the water back. The drilling, blasting and excavation removed more than 765,000m³ of rock and soil – enough to cover the whole of Central Park to a depth of 20 centimetres.
Topped off with the perfectly manicured Mosholu golf course, the plant hosts the largest “living roof” in North America. Visually integrated with its surroundings, the surface architecture allows all surface water to flow naturally to designated collection ponds without the aid of pumps. Despite being fantastically over budget and years overdue, the plant is a big coup for the Big Apple.


Wastewater Project of the Year

For the wastewater treatment plant, commissioned during 2015, that shows the greatest innovation in terms of optimising its physical or environmental footprint.

Winner: Strategic Tunnel Enhancement Programme, Abu Dhabi

What is it?
A tunnelling and sewerage project to connect Abu Dhabi city with the new wastewater treatment facilities at Wathba. The project involves the construction of a 41km deep sewer tunnel and 45km of link sewers, in addition to a major terminal pumping station. It is designed to transport average flows of 22m3/s (1.9 million m3/d) and peak flows of 39m3/s (3.4 million m3/d) to accommodate population growth up to 2030.

Who is responsible?
The Abu Dhabi Sewerage Services Company hired CH2M as programme manager to execute the AED6 billion (US$1.6 billion) project, with the deep tunnel works contracts delivered on time and on budget by Impregilo and Samsung C&T Corporation. The pumping station was designed by Mott MacDonald and built by Odebrecht.

What makes it special?
The massive tunnel project makes up part of Plan Abu Dhabi 2030, an urban development project. It is a deep gravity system which channels sewage from Abu Dhabi island through massive tunnels, helping to reduce odour and the chances of overflow during times of flash flooding. The ability to handle such immense volumes of wastewater is crucial to Abu Dhabi’s target of achieving 100% wastewater reuse by 2018.
The programme sets a new benchmark for the region, and minimised environmental impact and disruptions to the community through the use of trenchless technology and mechanised deep tunnelling techniques. The terminal pumping station is the largest of its kind in the world, and will allow 35 existing pumping stations to be decommissioned, freeing up valuable land for development.
Designed for a maintenance-free 100-year lifecycle, the new system will improve reliability, reduce operating costs, and mitigate CO2 emissions. Delivering the major portions of such a monumental project on time was testament to the team’s dedication, and all that remains now is local link connections before the STEP project can begin to transform Abu Dhabi’s wastewater handling abilities.

Distinction: Hong Kong Integrated Wastewater and Sludge Management

What is it?
Stage 2A of the Harbour Area Treatment Scheme (HATS) comprises the construction of sewage conveyance systems, the upgrading of the Stonecutters Island Sewage Treatment Works (SCISTW), and the upgrading of eight preliminary treatment works on Hong Kong Island, increasing treatment capacity to 2.4 million m³/d. This coincides with the commissioning of the world’s largest sludge treatment facility (2,000 tonnes/day) in Tsang Tsui.

Who is responsible?
HATS 2A was implemented by the Drainage Services Department (DSD), with Arup acting as consultant. A Biwater-led team completed the upgrade of the SCISTW – which features one of the world’s largest underground sewage pumping stations – while the Environmental Protection Department (EPD) appointed a Veolia/Leighton/John Holland consortium to design and build the STF.

What makes it special?
“Hong Kong” in Chinese literally means “fragrant port”, but the stench from the coastal waters of Victoria Harbour was threatening to deprive the city of its identity. HATS is an initiative to improve the quality of water in the harbour area, and the completion of stage 2A means that all sewage generated by five million residents either side of the Victoria harbour will be sent for treatment, instead of being discharged directly into the sea.
On its own, HATS would have solved one problem whilst creating another, by putting pressure on limited landfill space with the greater amount of sludge generated. The thermal-based STF plays a key part in the solution by incinerating the sludge to generate heat, which then drives a steam turbine to generate power, with any surplus being directed to the grid.
The water quality in Victoria Harbour has improved markedly, as has the quality of life for Hong Kong’s residents. Beaches have reopened, and recreational water activities – previously halted due to pollution – have resumed. The neat dovetailing of the numerous infrastructure components reflects a uniquely holistic and forward-thinking approach to municipal wastewater and environmental management.


Desalination Plant of the Year

For the desalination plant, commissioned during 2015, that represents the most impressive technical or ecologically sustainable achievement in the industry.

Winner: The Claude “Bud” Lewis Carlsbad Desalination Plant, USA

What is it?
A 50MGD (189,250m³/d) SWRO desalination plant serving nearly 400,000 people in San Diego County, California.

Who is responsible?
The project was developed by a joint venture of Poseidon Resources and Stonepeak Infrastructure Partners under a 33-year build-own-operate contract with the San Diego County Water Authority (SDCWA). EPC work was carried out by a Kiewit/JF Shea team, while IDE Technologies was responsible for the design and supply of the desalination equipment. The pressure vessels were provided by Protec Arisawa, while Dow Water & Process Solutions supplied the reverse osmosis membranes. ERI furnished the energy recovery devices.

What makes it special?
The successful completion of the largest desalination plant in North America followed years of seemingly insurmountable technical, financial and legal hurdles. The tenacity shown by the developer team is matched only by the importance of seawater desalination as a key part of the solution to California’s water crisis.
A canny combination of state-of-the art energy recovery technology with an external energy offsetting programme makes Carlsbad the first major infrastructure project in the state of California to completely neutralise its carbon footprint. The carbon offsetting programme helped fund the regeneration of forest areas decimated by wildfires in 2007.
The repurposing of an existing seawater intake pipe formed a crucial plank of the developer’s plans to minimise the impact on the surrounding environment. At the same time, Poseidon retained its green credentials by partnering with the US Fish and Wildlife Service to create, restore and enhance 66 acres of vulnerable local wetland.

Distinction: Ghalilah SWRO, Ras Al Khaimah, UAE

What is it?
A low-energy seawater desalination plant in the United Arab Emirates, with a capacity of 15MIGD (68,190m³/d). The $82 million contract to build the plant was awarded in 2011 and completed in 2015.

Who is responsible?
The plant was designed and built by Aquatech International under an engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) contract with the client, the Federal Electricity and Water Authority (FEWA). SWRO membranes were provided by Toray, with UF membranes from X-Flow. ERI supplied the energy recovery devices.

What makes it special?
The Ghalilah plant rewrites the rules for energy consumption at large-scale desalination installations. Aquatech secured the contract to build the plant with an audacious energy performance bid of 3.14kWh/m³. In reality, the plant now operates at under 3kWh/m³, an unprecedented figure for full-scale membrane desalination. It is FEWA’s largest desal plant to date, and sets a new global benchmark for performance in membrane desalination.
By coupling a game-changing technical design with a highly competitive construction cost of just over $82 million, Aquatech has proved that innovation in desalination does not need to come with a sky-high price tag.
The operation of the Ghalilah plant takes full account of one of the most hostile feedwater sources around. The design features advanced pre-treatment and monitoring systems to protect against the risk of seasonal red tides, whilst coping with salinity levels as high as 42,000ppm. A veritable all-rounder.


Water Reuse Project of the Year

For the project, delivered during 2015, that represents the most significant advancement in terms of water reuse.

Winner: San Diego Pure Water, USA

What is it?
A multi-phased $2.9 billion programme to implement 83MGD (314,155m³/d) of advanced water purification capacity in the City of San Diego, ultimately meeting a third of the city’s needs. The overall project will reclaim for beneficial reuse more than 100MGD (378,500m³/d) of wastewater that is currently discharged into the Pacific Ocean. The first phase of the programme was completed in 2015 when a state-of-the-art 1MGD (3,785m³/d) demonstration project at the North City Water Reclamation Plant came online.

Who is responsible?
The City of San Diego and the Water Reliability Coalition are spearheading the programme. MWH and Brown & Caldwell are acting as programme managers, while CDM Smith, MWH, and Trussell Technologies are the project consultants for the North City Demonstration Facility, which features low-pressure membranes from Pall and Toray, RO membranes from Toray and Hydranautics, an H2O Innovation RO system, a Leopold Oxelia filtration system furnished by Xylem, and a Trojan UV system.

What makes it special?
San Diego has historically been dependent on imported water. Despite this, a 1990s plan to reclaim primary effluent for potable reuse purposes met with strong opposition from local citizens, who coined the phrase “toilet-to-tap”. The tenacity of local officials in turning public opinion around is thus all the more remarkable.
The plant uses a multi-barrier approach to destroy pathogens and bacteria, employing UF/MF membrane filtration systems, reverse osmosis, and advanced oxidation through the application of UV disinfection and hydrogen peroxide. As part of its outreach effort, the city’s Public Utilities Department has opened the pilot facility to the public to demonstrate the safety of the water produced.
The pilot plant marks a significant step towards San Diego’s dream of achieving water independence, and will also generate valuable data which could help shape the future implementation of direct potable reuse.

Distinction: Orange County GWRS Expansion, USA

What is it?
A 30MGD (113,600m³/d) expansion of the existing 70MGD (264,950m³/d) Groundwater Replenishment System (GWRS), the world’s largest indirect potable reuse scheme.

Who is responsible?
The Orange County Water District (OCWD) and the Orange County Sanitation District (OCSD) are jointly in charge of the system. Black & Veatch served as the civil and mechanical engineer, while Parsons was the construction manager. Dow Water & Process Solutions supplied its Filmtec reverse osmosis elements, and MF membranes were supplied by Evoqua, while Trojan UV treatment technology was also installed. FEDCO was responsible for the supply of energy recovery devices for the BWRO portion of the project.

What makes it special?
With California in the grip of a catastrophic drought, finding new water sources to reduce the state’s reliance on imported water and the overstretched Colorado River has never been more important. Orange County’s groundwater replenishment scheme does this at an unprecedented scale and at a fraction of the cost of desalination, whilst anticipating future statewide legislation on eliminating ocean discharges of treated wastewater.
The expansion, which came online in 2015, saw the construction of eight new below-grade treatment basins, a new reverse osmosis building, and five additional ultraviolet light (UV) treatment trains. A new equalisation system allows effluent generated during peak flow periods to be scalped and stored nearby for treatment during periods of low flow, enabling the GWRS to operate more efficiently by running at maximum capacity 24/7.
Orange County’s unique level of engagement with the public has turned the GWRS into a living endorsement of how California is pro-actively addressing its water resourcing crisis. The plant’s popular monthly tours are a vital tool in the battle to overcome public resistance by championing the benefits of reuse in their own back yards.


Industrial Water Project of the Year

For the project, commissioned in 2015, that represents the most impressive technical or environmental achievement in the field of industrial water.

Winner: Northern WTP, Australia

What is it?
A 100,000m³/d plant treating produced water piped from Queensland Gas Corporation’s coal seam gas extraction operation near Wandoan. The treated effluent is reused by local industry and farmers.

Who is responsible?
An alliance of GE and Laing O’Rourke built and commissioned the A$550 million (US$390 million) plant on behalf of client Queensland Gas Corporation (QGC), part of BG Group, which is now owned by Royal Dutch Shell.

What makes it special?
The Northern WTP is the biggest of a trio of produced water treatment plants commissioned by QGC to treat saline water produced as part of the coal seam gas extraction process. It uses submerged and pressure ultrafiltration, ion exchange (IX), and three-stage reverse osmosis followed by brine concentration, meaning that only 3% of the influent stream ends up being rejected.
The plant’s remote location meant that it was imperative to utilise the latest offsite construction techniques in order to streamline the construction process and minimise the impact on the local environment. The pipe racks were manufactured so as to allow a ‘plug and play’ approach using a pre-defined installation sequence, and were trucked in according to carefully timed transport envelopes, eliminating the need for police escorts and pilot vehicles. Meanwhile, three 120-tonne brine concentrators were manufactured offsite in New Zealand before being shipped to Brisbane, trucked to the site, and installed using one of the largest mobile cranes in Australia.
The debate over coal seam gas produced water has been raging for years in Australia. A practical, pragmatic solution such as this cuts through the rhetoric to the heart of the problem, enhancing QGC’s social licence to operate through its emphasis on responsible treatment and reuse.

Distinction: Changxing Power Plant ZLD facility, China

What is it?
A forward osmosis (FO) based zero liquid discharge (ZLD) water recovery system at Huaneng Power’s 1.3GW coal power plant in Changxing, China. The system became operational in April 2015.

Who is responsible?
The system was designed, deployed, and commissioned by Oasys Water and Beijing Woteer. Oasys implemented its proprietary membrane brine concentrator (MBC) and pre-concentrating reverse osmosis (RO) technologies, while Beijing Woteer acted as lead contractor.

What makes it special?
Stricter emissions and discharge standards in China have forced companies like Huaneng Power to incorporate sophisticated water treatment technologies into their power plant designs. The wastewater treatment plant at the company’s power installation in Changxing uses Oasys’ desalination technology to treat a combined stream of flue gas desulphurisation (FGD) blow-down and cooling tower blow-down wastewater. To meet the discharge limits, all liquid is reused as boiler make-up water. This is the first commercial application of an FO-based ZLD system in China.
The system was optimised to ensure stability over a wide range of water quality and flow conditions, given the shared draw solution. It can treat flows ranging from 15–26 m³/hour, and water quality of 25,000–40,000 mg/L TDS from the power plant’s wet FGD scrubbers. The high turn-down ratio and wide operating windows were important factors in the selection of Oasys-Woteer’s solution over evaporator-based designs.
The operation of Changxing’s ZLD system coincides with China’s implementation of a national Water Pollution Action Plan which focuses on industrial wastewater pollution. Changxing’s use of advanced treatment technology meets the new standards, setting a benchmark for future projects aiming for compliance. Oasys and Beijing Woteer have won three subsequent projects based on the successful operation of Changing.


Water Deal of the Year

For the deal, signed in 2015, which has made the biggest contribution to the advancement of private sector participation in the international water sector.

Winner: Changi NEWater II

What is it?
An S$180 million ($141 million) financing package to fund a 25-year design-build-own-operate project in Singapore. The resulting plant will polish secondary treated municipal wastewater from the Changi Water Reclamation Plant to create 228,000m³/d of potable quality NEWater.

Who is responsible?
Chinese state-owned developer Beijing Enterprises Water Group (BEWG) and Singapore’s United Engineers Ltd (UEL) teamed up to deliver the winning bid for Singaporean national water company Public Utilities Board (PUB). KPMG was the transaction advisor on the financing package, while Wong Partnership and Beca served as legal and contractual advisors, respectively.

What makes it special?
Chosen as preferred bidder in September 2014, the BEWG-UEL consortium worked at phenomenal speed to finalise the contract and pull together a financing package by January 2015 – running to a tight schedule that will see first water produced in December 2016. Opting to raise 90% of the funding through shareholder loans rather than the more expensive commercial debt market enabled the bidders to deliver a first-year tariff of just S$0.28/m³ (US$0.20/m³).
Having clinched the contract at a low tariff, optimising operational costs was always going to be of paramount concern. Pitting local electricity retailers against each other in a competitive tender resulted in a fixed power tariff for the first five years of the contract, providing a vital buffer against price fluctuations.
As the first water PPP in Singapore to be led by a foreign company, Changi NEWater II is testament to the rise of China as a global power in the water industry. The enthusiastic reception for BEWG’s $251 million syndicated loan in 2015 means that the project company now has a web of international finance partners at its fingertips. This will prove vital when it comes to refinancing the project’s debt at more attractive margins once the construction risk has been eliminated.

Distinction: Al Hamra SWRO financing, UAE

What is it?
A $196 million funding package signed to back the construction of a 22MIGD (100,000m³/d) solar-powered SWRO plant under a build-own-operate contract in Ras Al Khaimah, UAE. The water is purchased by Utico Services, which serves around 650 individual and bulk consumers, including local utility FEWA.

Who is responsible?
The project will be developed by Al Hamra Water Company, a joint venture between Utico (60%) and Cobra (40%). EPC work on the plant will be carried out by Cobra subsidiary Tedagua. KPMG/GU Advisory DMCC (financial), Latham & Watkins (legal) and Mott MacDonald/Uticonsult (technical) advised on the deal. The project was funded according to a 70:30 debt-to-equity split, with debt financing arranged by United Ventures and Investments in Dubai.

What makes it special?
As the world’s first ‘private IWP’ – where a private party takes the role of both developer and offtaker – the project marks a major evolution in the way the private water sector interacts with end-users. By allowing the private sector to take a hand in every step of the process – funding, construction, operation, procurement and distribution – Al Hamra has proved that private water can continually lead the way in delivering excellent service.
The project’s unique structure, free from government dictat, allowed it to incorporate a solar power plant, pushing the envelope in the interconnection of energy and water infrastructure.
By dealing directly with customers as well as sourcing its own co-developer and contractor, Utico has realised massive synergies in the bureaucracy of water supply, as well as reducing the burden of payments on cash-strapped utilities and water providers in Ras Al Khaimah.


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:

Distinction: Nano Water Structures


Clathrate desalination system

Winner: Water Planet Intelliflux technology

Automated, self-adaptive RO process control system

%d bloggers like this: