The Victorian Desalination Project officially finished its commissioning tests on Monday 17 December 2012, at which time 23 billion litres of desalinated water was produced and distributed to the Melbourne network. The plant was then placed in standby mode ready to be brought back into production to deliver any future water order placed by the State.

Like any piece of infrastructure, the desalination plant was tested to ensure it operated properly. Commissioning tested for performance, production and reliability to ensure the plant produced and transferred drinking water to the quality and quantities required.

Initially each 50 gigalitre module for the plant was required to undergo performance testing for water quality. Water was released to the ocean during this testing.

Water quality standards were required to be met at the plant site and every delivery point and were monitored by DELWP, water authorities and AquaSure. During commissioning the IREA supported the review of contract water quality requirements. The Department of Health was also involved in reviewing results as related to the Safe Drinking Water Act 2003 and Health (Fluoridation) Act 1973 requirements.

Once water quality was fully proven for the first 50 gigalitre module, desalinated water began to enter the transfer pipeline for its commissioning and ultimately entered the network via Cardinia Reservoir.

The project's 84‑kilometre transfer pipeline has a delivery point at Berwick that connects to Cardinia Reservoir. There, the water mixes with catchment supplies and can be transferred to the broader network, depending on how storages are managed.

Following completion of all performance testing as well as additional reliability tests for the first 50 gigalitre module, the plant achieved its first contractual milestone of Preliminary Commercial Acceptance on 29 September 2012.

The second and third 50 gigalitre modules then underwent testing before all three streams were operated together. Water production increased gradually.

On 30 November 2012, Commercial Acceptance on the project was achieved. At that time, the plant proved that it could produce high quality drinking water at a rate of 150 gigalitres per year (450 megalitres per day).

To achieve Reliability Testing Finalisation (the final commissioning test), the plant was required to operate at a rate of 150 gigalitres per year for 30 days to test reliability of all systems.

For information on water in your area, contact your water authority:

  • City West Water - 132642
  • Yarra Valley Water - 131721
  • South East Water - 131694

For more information go to Water quality or look at our fact sheets:

Water quality fact sheet  (PDF, 2.0 MB)
Water quality fact sheet  (DOCX, 16.6 KB)