John hollandJohn Holland

The largest desalination plant in Australia and the second largest in the world.

Sydney Desalination Plant

The $1 billion Sydney Desalination Plant was a project to design, build and operate the facility for 20 years. Our team managed the design and construction of this highly specialised processing facility, and our partner, Veolia Water, manages the ongoing operations and maintenance.

This award-winning, world-class plant is capable of delivering 250 megalitres of potable water per day. In reducing Sydney’s dependence on rainfall for its water supply, the plant creates a durable legacy for the people of Sydney.

The second desalination plant on Australia’s East Coat was a complex project that consisted of three components: 

  • The desalination plant – a seawater processing facility. The plant includes seawater pre-screening and pumping, gravity sand filtration, 2-stage reverse osmosis and water remineralisation, as well as thickening and centrifuge dewatering of all waste solids streams.
  • Tunnels and connecting galleries – constructing two 2.5km long x 4.15m diameter tunnels using two tunnel boring machines. 
  • Marine works – constructing in a coastal surf zone in the Tasman Sea. Precast concrete construction and offshore installation of four intake and two outlet riser structures.
  • Customer
    Sydney Water Corporation
  • Location
    Sydney, New South Wales
  • Specialisation
    Water & wastewater
  • Start
    July 2007
  • End
    February 2010
The plant was designed to achieve world-standard levels of energy efficiency, with total power consumption guaranteed to be no more than 4.2 kWh/kl.
The plant was delivered on time and under budget with an outstanding safety performance.


John Holland pays respect to the Traditional Owners and Custodiams of the land on which we work and live, and their connections to land, sea and community. We pay our respect to their Elders past and present and extend that respect to all First Nations peoples today.