The Victorian Desalination Project includes the largest desalination plant in Australia and one of the greenest in the world.

The plant can deliver up to 150 billion litres (150 gigalitres) of fresh drinking water per year.

The low-profile, 38-hectare plant is set among constructed dunes and restored woodlands and wetlands in a 225-hectare ecological reserve.

It uses the most energy-efficient method of desalinating water, reverse osmosis and state-of-the art technology and processes.

World-leading energy recovery devices significantly reduce power consumption.

Its world-class design includes a living green roof and one of the state's largest ecological restoration programs.

The living green roof is one of the largest ever created in Australia and is covered with indigenous vegetation. This protects the plant from corrosion and reduces noise and maintenance.

The roof and reconstruction of coastal dunes from soil excavated on the site ensure that the plant is integrated into the coastal landscape – making it barely visible from public viewing points.

The plant is built on land that in the past has been cleared for farming and mining. Millions of plants and trees were planted to reinstate indigenous vegetation.

The coastal park is an ecologically sustainable landscape. It includes freshwater wetlands and woodland and coastal heath landscapes to provide a biodiverse habitat for local fauna. It also features 8 kilometres of walking, cycling and horse-riding paths that link with existing trails in the area for community use.

Fast facts

  • 38 hectares for buildings, 225-hectare coastal park;
  • 150 billion litres of water per year;
  • 444 million litres of water a day capacity;
  • Around 55,000 reverse osmosis membranes.

Turning seawater into drinking water

Find out more about each part of the desalination plant.

  1. Seawater is drawn in from the ocean through specially designed intakestructures. Seawater is drawn at very low speeds – even small fish will be able to swim against the intake current – and a protective grill will ensure that larger marine life can't swim into the structure.
  2. Seawater intake tunnel A long tunnel (approximately 1.2 km long) transports seawater to the plant site and protects the marine environment, including the beach and dune system.
  3. Seawater is screened and fine particles removed.
  4. Seawater is filtered to remove solids such as any remaining sand and sediment.
  5. Seawater passes through two stages of reverse osmosis, where it is pushed through ultra fine membranes under high pressure. Fresh water passes through, leaving seawater concentrate behind.
  6. Desalinated water has minerals added to meet Australian Drinking Water Guidelines and Victorian health requirements.
  7. Drinking water is stored before it is distributed into the Melbourne and regional water networks, where it may be blended with water from existing catchments.
  8. Drinking water is pumped into Melbourne's water supplies.
  9. Outlet tunnel A long tunnel (approximately 1.5 km long) transports seawater under the dunes and coast, thereby protecting the environment.
  10. Seawater is diffused into the ocean with specially designed nozzles to ensure it diffuses rapidly
  11. Ecological restoration: The project resulted in one of the largest ecological restoration programs ever undertaken in Victoria, with the creation of a 225 ha coastal park complete with wetlands, coastal and swampy woodlands and new habitat for local fauna. A network of pedestrian, cycling and horse riding paths on the plant site links with existing trails.
  12. Living green roof: A living green roof, covered with living indigenous ground covers, tussocks and low shrubs helps blend the plant into the natural landscape. The roof also provides acoustic protection, thermal control and reduces maintenance.
  13. Coastal integration: The spoil from earthworks was used to create a series of new dunes, which will help integrate the plant with the natural landscape.

Page last updated: 25/07/19