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The contract for the construction of Western Australia’s first full-scale groundwater replenishment plant has been signed, heralding a new era in the management of Perth’s drinking water supply. The plans for the plant have also been expanded for a larger capacity.

Speaking at the Australian Water Association’s annual Western Australian lunch in Perth, WA Water Minister Mia Davies said the Advanced Water Recycling Plant (AWRP) would be built with double the treatment capacity that was originally envisaged for stage one.

“It was originally planned that stage one of the plant would have a capacity of seven gigalitres per year, which would then be expanded to 14GL and 28GL over several years as demand increased,” Ms Davies said.

“However, due to a comprehensive and competitive tendering process and strong competition for the contract, the State Government has been able to effectively get the first two planned stages built for less than the price of one – saving $24million in the process.

“It’s an excellent outcome for the State and will get our new climate independent water source up and running at a higher capacity sooner than expected.”

The Minister said the winning contractor, the CHT JV Alliance (formed by Thiess Pty Ltd and CH2M Hill Australia Pty Ltd), would be responsible for the design, construction and commissioning of the full-scale AWRP.

It will be built on the same site as the current Groundwater Replenishment Trial site in Craigie.

“In addition to their technical expertise, the CHT JV Alliance demonstrated a clear understanding of the importance of continuing to communicate with the Perth community and local residents about groundwater replenishment,” she said.

The total estimated cost of construction of the 14GL plant is $124.6million, with construction due to start in late August and commissioning to start by October 2016.

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