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South Australia Country Water Quality Improvement Program

Helping to provide cleaner drinking water from the mighty River Murray

South Australia Water
Contract Value
Project Duration
Commenced: May 2007
Estimated Completion
Completed: January 2008
Various locations throughout regional South Australia
Project Overview

Stage 3 of the South Australian Government’s Country Water Quality Improvement Program aimed to deliver higher quality filtered drinking water to a number of townships throughout the Murraylands and Riverland regions.

South Australia Water’s Outer Metro and Northern regions covered those townships delivering water and wastewater services to horticulture, industry, farming and residential clients. It operates some of the state’s most significant infrastructure there, including all the reservoirs and major River Murray pipelines that deliver water to Adelaide and the Barossa Valley.

The quality improvement works along the Murray River draw on UGL’s extensive experience and speed in delivering water engineering infrastructure solutions across Australia and South East Asia. Stage 3 of the Water Quality Improvement Program saw UGL deliver nine new water treatment plants.

The Challenge

The Country Water Quality Improvement Program began in 1996 with the construction of 10 new water filtration plants. In November 2006, the South Australian State Government announced the acceleration of Stage 3 of the program, which would see the delivery of filtered Murray River water to 17 communities.

This stage included the construction of nine water treatment plants and six pipelines.

Construction activities included:

  • Small scale demolition
  • Excavation works
  • Earthworks
  • Pipe works
  • Building construction
  • Erection of sheds, security fencing and transportable buildings

Major elements of one of the new water treatment plants at Kanmantoo comprised of:

  • Raw water tank elevated approximately three metres with 17,000 litre capacity
  • Treated water tank with 2,000,000 litre capacity
  • Filtration plant
  • Office, amenities and testing building
  • Chemical storage tanks
  • Drying lagoons
The Solution

UGL was commissioned to design, construct and operate nine water treatment plants along the Murray River in nine townships in rural South Australia.

The plants and their capacities were:

Plant Capacity (ML/d)

1. Kanmantoo 2.5
2. Mypolonga 1.5
3. Cowirra-Neeta 1.3
4. Palmer 2.2
5. Swan Reach 0.7
6. Blanchetown 0.6
7. Cadell 0.5
8. Moorook 0.7
9. Glossop 1.5


The plants were built on budget and within a compressed contract period to improve the water quality for these townships sooner, due to worsening drought conditions in South Australia at that time.

UGL’s scope of work included process design, construction and commissioning of the plants and a five year contract to operate and maintain this infrastructure thereafter.

The process steps in each plant include coagulation, membrane filtration, pH control, granular activated carbon (for removal of algal toxins), disinfection (chlorination) and auxiliary systems for aeration and membrane cleaning to name a few. The water from the treated water storage tank is further trim chlorinated to adjust the residual chlorine to one milligram per litre prior to distribution to South Australia Water’s end clients.

With treatment plants employing Ultra Filtration (UF) membrane technology, raw water is treated to a high quality standard with a turbidity measurement of less than 0.15 Nephelometric Turbidity Units (NTUs) and colour of less than five Hazen units (HU).

Key Outcomes and Benefits

UGL’s in-house expertise, knowledge and attention to detail in delivering this significant water infrastructure, coupled with a compressed timeline has ensured that 17 South Australian communities are receiving clean, filtered water from the River Murray.

While the technical features and specifications previously outlined are important, the key outcomes for South Australian rural residents are improved taste, smell and colour of the water when they turn on their taps.

Key outcomes included:

  • The client’s expectations throughout the project were met through positive and thorough technical reviews and design risk workshops
  • The construction phase of the project progressed ahead of schedule due largely to the detailed planning that took place during the design phase
  • After the delivery of a project, UGL continues to support South Australian Water ensuring the smooth operation of their treatment plant systems as part of the Country Water Quality Improvement Program
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