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Water Project of the Year: Shortlist

For the water project, commissioned during 2020, that shows the greatest innovation in terms of optimising its physical or environmental footprint.

Shortlisted Nominees


Albert Robles Center for Water Recycling, USA

What is it?

A 53,000m3/d advanced treatment facility recycling water to recharge groundwater aquifers in the San Gabriel Valley, California. The plant fulfils a vital role in boosting local resilience against drought.

Who is involved?

The Water Replenishment District of Southern California (WRD) owns the plant, with operations carried out by PERC Water Corporation, with design-build activities contributed by JF Shea and Tetra Tech. Funding for the $130 million facility came from a number of parties including the State Water Resources Control Board, the Clean Water State Revolving Fund and the Bureau of Reclamation. Ultrafiltration and reverse osmosis systems were supplied by Biwater, with Toray Membrane USA providing the membranes. Trojan Technologies supplied the UV and sodium hypochlorite advanced oxidation system.

What makes it special?

The advanced treatment processes used at the Albert Robles Center (ARC) have pioneered the use of UV and sodium hypochlorite oxidation for the application of groundwater remediation. In addition to ensuring that the site exceeds California’s stringent water quality standards, the use of sodium hypochlorite offers lower operating costs and better safety assurances than the traditional hydrogen peroxide.

As a direct result of the new advanced treatment plant, water imports from Northern California and the Colorado River are no longer required to replenish the area’s groundwater supply. More than 12 million m3 of water is treated annually for indirect potable reuse to recharge the San Gabriel Valley groundwater aquifers. The plant is also able to optimise the advantages of its location in Pico Rivera through its proximity to an existing pipeline.


The ARC is a critical element of the WRD’s wider Water Independence Now program, which endeavours to establish a locally sustainable water supply for Southern California and increase resilience to drought. Since gaining its permits to begin delivering treated water to the Montebello Forebay Spreading Grounds in February 2020, the ARC has been able to realise its full potential of preserving Southern California’s groundwater reserves.


Atlanta Water Supply Program, USA

What is it?

A former quarry turned 2.4 billion gallon water storage facility, complete with two new pump stations and a five mile tunnel connecting the site to the City of Atlanta’s water treatment plants. The facility has massively boosted Atlanta’s water reserve capacity, from a mere three days to over one month.

Who is involved?

The City of Atlanta funded the $321 million project, which was carried out under a construction manager at risk (CMAR) contract model delivered by a joint venture of PC Construction and H.J. Russell. Specialist submersible pumps were supplied by Andritz, with several other companies involved in transforming the quarry and constructing the tunnel.

What makes it special?

The ambitious scale of the project is truly impressive: alongside the conversion of the quarry, the five mile connecting tunnel bored 400 feet beneath Atlanta is the deepest in Georgia. As a cornerstone of the city’s water resilience strategy, the benefits of the new facility have already been realised. It was first put to the test during its commissioning period in response to a pipeline break, adeptly preventing a water emergency.

In response to the challenges resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic, smart solutions and long-distance collaboration enabled the team to implement new strategies for success. Although restrictions prevented international travel to the site, Andritz engineers based in Germany were able to use high-definition cameras and conferencing software to remotely supervise the installation of a trio of 300 foot submersible pumps.


The CMAR model provided optimum flexibility in design, procurement and project execution, alongside smooth collaboration between the client, contractor and engineers. With the client seeking rapid project completion, the CMAR method enabled simultaneous design of one component and construction of another. The success of the Water Supply Program has established a blueprint for delivering challenging infrastructure projects under this model in Atlanta and worldwide.


Orly Drinking Water Plant, France

What is it?

A 50,000m3/d upgrade and expansion to one of the largest water treatment plants in the Paris area. The project has both increased treatment capacity and modernised the processes used to provide the city with high-quality drinking water.

Who is involved?

Stéreau, part of Saur Group, was responsible for delivering the solution to Eau de Paris, with the Paris public authority financing the $1.8 million expansion. Working in direct contact with Stéreau, equipment specialist Xylem managed the upgrade project independently and was responsible for supplying Flygt and Lowara pumps, and Wedeco ozone and UV systems.

What makes it special?

Xylem took on a comprehensive and pivotal role in delivering the upgrade to the Orly drinking water plant, from providing proprietary treatment and analytics technologies to pumping systems and tailor-made control cabinets. Direct communication between the client and solution provider enabled the efficient delivery of a fully integrated treatment train producing drinking water to an excellent standard.

Reduced power consumption was a crucial component of the upgrade, with the new pump station employing Xylem’s Flygt brand submersible pumps with high motor efficiency. The installation of enhanced analytics systems and sensors contributed to an expansion project which offered both premium technology and a reduction in operating costs.


The project expertly fused the existing infrastructure with a new pump station and Xylem’s disinfection expertise. Consisting of optimised ozonation alongside a new UV treatment step from the company’s Wedeco brand, these processes have significantly upgraded the tertiary capabilities of the facility. By demonstrating a holistic approach to the design of the upgrade and the technologies installed, the project has successfully strengthened the resilience of drinking water treatment and supply for the Paris area.


Seac Pai Van WTP, China

What is it?

A 130,000m3/d water treatment plant located next to the Seac Pai Van Reservoir in Macao. The plant represents an investment of approximately $125 million and was aimed at meeting the growing demand for water in this densely populated region.

Who is involved?

The Macao Water Company financed the plant and is responsible for its operation. EPC contractor Suez was responsible for providing all the treatment technologies used, including its Pulsatube and Pulsazur clarifiers alongside Aquazur V filtration. Hunan Architectural Design Institute contributed engineering expertise and Rock-One Engineering was the civil works subcontractor.

What makes it special?

With an ultra-compact footprint of just 17,200m2, the plant demonstrates clever use of space to deliver high quality treatment and minimise operating costs. The integrated structure reduces headloss between each treatment stage, while the combination of clarifiers and filtration provide comprehensive organics and micropollutant removal with the flexibility of powdered activated carbon dosing.

The facility’s green credentials extend well beyond the foliage covering its walls and roof. Efficient pumping systems have been incorporated alongside natural sunlight and ventilation to reduce its energy footprint to just 0.295kWh/m3. The proximity of the treatment plant to its service area also negates the need for long-distance transmission, improving the efficiency of the wider Macao water supply network.


The seamless integration of the Seac Pai Van plant into its surroundings was a key factor in increasing local community engagement with water treatment. An exhibition hall highlights the crucial issue of water conservation, and public visitors to the plant can also observe each stage of the treatment process from designated walkways.


The Global Water Awards 2021 is proudly sponsored by:

Dupont Water Solutions

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