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Summary of the Project’s Scope and Objectives

Discuss about the Victorian Desalination and Wonthaggi Desalination Project.

The Victorian Desalination Project supplies water to Melbourne, Geelong along with some other regional areas. It can supply high quality water whenever required. Also, it has a life up to 100 years which will help it in supplementing the water needs of the people in times of draught in the future (Aquasure, n.d.).

Initiated in 2007, the project was completed in 2012. The water supply to the public was started in March 2017 through Cardinia Reservoir. The project is incurring a cost amounting to $608 Million in a year .The desalination plant consists of 29 buildings which also includes the reverse osmosis building. It has the capacity to produce 150 Billion liters of water   per year. Additionally it has the capability to expand the production of water to 200 Billion liters in a year (Porter et al., 2014).

So, this report is about the Victorian Desalination Project and appropriate provisions applicable on it. Besides this, the features of the contract applicable on this project along with the sharing of risk amongst the clients and the contracts will also be discussed in it.

The Melbourne Desalination Plant is a Public Private Partnership between the Department of Sustainability and Environment of the Victorian Government and Aquasure. The plant is one of the most ecofriendly projects in the world utilizing renewable energy resources for its operation. Also, it has installed the world leading energy recovery machines to lessen the power consumption and adopted a unique design with green roof with a coastal park (Loftus and March, 2016).

Due to the consistent drought and the rising necessity of the water requirements, the government of Victoria announced the next stage of its plan for water production in June, 2007. It was known as Our Water Our Future: The Next Stage of the Government’s Water Plan. The plan provides the long term solutions for providing water by expanding and enhancing the supply of water in Melbourne. Additionally, the networking of water resources was performed across the State with the help of water grid. A flexible and speedy solution was designed for the changing water needs of the citizens of the country with the help of this project.

The scope of the project comprises of the components such as establishment of Desalination Plant, Marine Structures, Power Supply and Transfer Pipelines. Desalination Plant has been established with the production capacity of 150 Gigaliters per year. Also, it has the potential to increase its production of water up to 200 Gigaliters per year (Beaudoin  et al.,2016).

Relevant Regulations Applicable on the VDP Project

The Marine Structures has been designed to intake the seawater and to purify it through the saline concentrate outlet. There is a transfer pipeline which is approximately 85 Kilometers long and it joins the Desalination Plant to the Melbourne Water supply network. Moreover, there is a power supply connected to the Desalination Plant and the connected infrastructure.

The objectives of the Desalination Plant are to produce 150 GL desalinated water per year. Also, it can produce up to 200GL per year and can supply high quality water in times of draught.  It is designed for   storage of desalinated water (Zotalis et al., 2014). Also, it conducts the processes for waste treatment .It uses certain chemicals for the pretreatment, desalination and post treatment of water.

The Marine Structures transfer the sea water to the Desalination Plant and eliminates the saline content from the desalination process. These are situated one or two kilometers offshore from the Desalination Plant in the open coastal area. This structure consists of sea water intake and treats it with the solution for eliminating the saline concentrate and discharging back to the ocean.

The transfer pipelines have the capability to supply 200GL of water per year. It is connected to Melbourne Water infrastructure which allows wide distribution of water with the help of Melbourne Water supply network and it is also connected to the regional water authorities.

The Power supply supplies the electrical energy to the Desalination Plant and Transfer Pipeline. The objective of the power supply is to connect the existing power supply network near Tynong via a220 KV northerly grid connection (Stewart, 2016).

Following acts are applicable on the VDP project:

  1. The Planning and Environmental Act 1987
  2. Environment Protection Act 1970
  3. Coastal Management Act 1995
  4. Aboriginal Heritage Act 2006
  5. Water Act 1989

The Planning and Environmental Act 1987 provides a regulatory system for the use and development of land in Victoria. It is administrated throughout Victoria with the help of planning schemes under this act. It sets out specified details on the various uses and development which are permitted within each municipal area (Research Office Legislative Council Secretariat, 2015).

The Environment Protection Act 1970 has formulated the Environmental Protection Authority (EPA). It makes the provisions which outline the powers, accountabilities and duties for the avoidance of pollution and safeguarding the environment. It provides the legislative framework for obtaining information and suggestions regarding the possible effects on environment due to the installation of the project by the decision makers. The act mandates the formulation of a body to prepare Environmental Effects Statements (EES) which must be submitted to the Minister governing the Act (Victoria State Government, 2018).

Features of the Contract Applied in the Project

Coastal Management Act 1995 provides the approvals for the utilization and evaluation of the coastal Crown Land in Victoria. According to Section 3(1) of the act, the Coastal Crown Land refers to any land preserved as per the Victorian Crown Land (Reserves) Act 1978 for safeguarding the coastlines.

It also consists of sea waters and the sea beds within the limits of Victoria. The Crown land within the limit of 200 meters of the water mark of the coastal waters is also included in coastal Crown Land.

According to Section 37 of the Act, an individual must not utilize or evaluate coastal Crown Land without the written consent of the Minister governing the Act.

Aboriginal Heritage Act 2006 administers the formulation of the Aboriginal heritage Council with the membership of owners who shall suggest the safeguarding of Aboriginal heritage .Also, it manages the Aboriginal  parties which develop the management plans and execute the  cultural heritage agreements . The site of the plant, the transfer pipeline and the power supply corridor cover the areas of both Aboriginal and European cultural heritages.

Water Act 1989 provides for the administration of the terrestrial phase of water cycle, management of sustainable use and its conservation. It also includes the nullification of the inconsistencies in the treatment of surface and groundwater resources and waterways (Ettehad, 2015).

Features of the contract applied in the project and the manner in which the risks are apportioned between the clients and the contractors in this contract

The Melbourne Desalination Plant is Public Private Partnership between the Department of Sustainability and Environment of the Government of Victoria and Aquasure.

According to UniPhi (2018) the features of the contract applied in the project are that the parties to the contract believe that the harmonious industrial relations should exist amongst all the stakeholders. The parties approve to work in a cooperative way to ensure the successful installation of the project.

The parties believe that the project should successfully supply the water to the people of Victoria. The project aims to secure the highest level of occupational health and safety standards. It is also focused on developing and preserving the best practices in the completion of the infrastructural projects.

Lastly, it aims to achieve and maintain the employee commitment for the completion of the project   in a preserved and effective way (Hecka et al., 2016).

The risks are allocated amongst the clients and contractors in the contract by adopting the following methods:

  1. If the employee working on the site of the contract, faces an unavoidable risks to his/her health and safety, he or she should immediately withdraw from the site and inform the employer about it. The employee must follow the directions of the employer and should perform any other work within the expertise of the employee provided it should be safe for him or her to perform.
  2. If a problem associated with safety has been detected at the workplace , then the Occupational Health and Safety Representative  will examine the area and will determine what action can be taken to prevent 
  3. The parties to the contract will follow the risks warnings which will last for 6 months (Falkenberg and Styan, 2015).
  4. Lastly, no chemical will be added in the Desalinated Water which has the potential risk to human health and life. To protect the humans from harm, suitable monitoring equipment will be installed to abide by the compliance as per the Safe Drinking Water Act 2003 (Duff, Labate and Slugg, 2017).


Hence, to conclude, it can be said that Victorian Desalination Plant is amongst the biggest desalination plant in Australia which supplements the fresh water requirements of about one third of the households and industries, without depending on rain. The project is one of the greenest projects in the entire world utilizing the renewable resources to conserve 100 % of the operational energy.

Also, it ensures that along with supplying desalinated water to the citizens of the land, the execution of the activities of the project does not have a negative impact on the environment .In this regard it complies with the various laws and regulations such as The Planning and Environmental Act 1987, Environment Protection Act 1970 etc.


Aquasure (n.d.) The Victorian Desalination Project [online] Available from:

Beaudoin , A.J., Bonefas, S.J., Jacoway, I.R. and Marx, A.L.(2015) Analysis of Domestic and International Desalination to Outline the Decision Making Landscape for Implementation and Operation of Desalination Plants in the United States. [online] Available from:

Duff, J., Labate,  V.  and Slugg, A.M.(2017)  Prospects and Pitfalls of Desalination Development: Insights from Three States. Ocean and Coastal Law Journal. 22(2),pp. 130-155.

Ettehad, E. (2015) Public Interest in Desalination Delivery in Three Australian States – A Newspaper Content Analysis[online] Available from:

Falkenberg , L.J. and  Styan, C.A.(2015) The use of simulated whole effluents in toxicity assessments: A review of case studies from reverse osmosis desalination plants            . Desalination. 368(2015), pp. 3-9.   

Hecka,N., Paytana,A. , Pottsc ,D.C. and  Haddad, B.(2016) Predictors of local support for a seawater desalination plant in a small coastal community. Environmental Science & Policy.66(2016), pp. 101–111.

Loftus , A. and March , H.(2016) Financializing Desalination: Rethinking the Returns of Big Infrastructure. International Journal of Urban and Regional Research and Law . [online] Available from:

Porter, G., Michael, Downie, David, Scarborough, Helen, Sahin, Oz, Stewart and Rodney (2014) Drought and Desalination: Melbourne water supply and development choices in the twenty-first century. Desalination and Water Treatment. XX (2014), pp. 1-19.

Research Office Legislative Council Secretariat(2015) Fact Sheet Seawater desalination in Australia[online] Available from:

Stewart, M. (2016) Victoria Infrastructure Investment Update[online] Available from:

UniPhi (2018) Victoria Desalination Plant Records and Document Management[online] Available from:

Victoria State Government (2018) Environmental Effects Statement[online] Available from:

Zotalis, K., Dialynas , E.G. , Mamassis ,N. and  Angelakis, A.N.(2014) Desalination Technologies: Hellenic Experience. Water . 2014(6), pp. 1134-1150.

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