Management of entire Perth water supply outsourced to French desalination company

A Perth reader sent me this little bombshell from June – so now the French desalination company Degrémont a part of the global SUEZ Environnement Group will “…operate and maintain water production and wastewater treatment assets for Perth.” And yes that includes the 13 dams.

The WA Govt about a decade ago decided to introduce seawater desalination and at the same time allow dams to steadily be “decommissioned” by a creeping process of not managing dam catchment vegetation. A process that has cost Perth water users about a thousand GL of water over say 15 years.
The media release is loaded with all the “expensive water” propaganda – referring to water as “precious” etc. No not precious; water is a common compound that falls free from the sky. We have to have the brains and will to collect it. Our pioneers and forefathers who built our dams would turn in their graves to think we were steadily making the dams more useless by not having the common sense and guts to thin catchment bush – due to political pressure from the Greens. As my reader in Perth said – “I can’t see Degrémont pushing catchment management as a profit centre.” Click more for text of entire media release.

Degrémont signs contract to operate and maintain water
production and wastewater treatment assets for Perth

Degrémont, subsidiary of world leader in water and waste management
services Suez Environnement, has signed with its partner Transfield
Services, a contract with the Western Australia Public Water Utility,
Water Corporation, to operate and maintain the water production and
wastewater treatment assets of the city of Perth, Australia’s 4th largest

With a start date of 1 July 2012, the project is valued at $378 million AUD
(294 million Euros) over the initial term and runs for 10 years (with a
possible extension of a further 5 years).

Overall, Degrémont, Water Corporation and Transfield Services will
manage and operate 19 water treatment plants, 14 wastewater treatment plants and 2 advanced water recycling plants as well as 13 dams, to deliver services to Perth’s 1.5 million residents, through an Integrated Alliance named ‘Aroona’.

Commenting on the signed contract, Degrémont Australia’s CEO, Roch Cheroux, said
this agreement confirms the continued confidence of Water Corporation in
Degrémont’s capabilities, following the construction and continued successful
operation of Perth’s Seawater Desalination Plant at Kwinana.

“Perth is one of Australia’s most important cities as the port of entry to the country’s minerals and resources boom. Achieving a sustainable and reliable water management solution is critical to the city’s future growth and prosperity.”

“This significant project confirms Degrémont’s commitment to the Australian water Industry and we’re looking forward to continuing to grow our already strong relationship with Water Corporation by providing an innovative operating and maintenance service while delivering long-term value through this strategic partnership,” said Mr Cheroux.

Apart from delivering excellent quality water and wastewater services, Aroona will also focus on measures to protect water as a precious resource for Western Australia’s future generations.

Media Contact
Dylan Malloch
Sefiani Communications Group
(02) 8920 0700 or

About Degrémont
Degrémont was originally incorporated in Australia as Australian Water Services (AWS) in 1991 and is a subsidiary of Degrémont, the international water treatment plant specialist within SUEZ Environnement Group, which provides environmental skills in terms of water management, sanitation, and waste services.

Within SUEZ Environnement, Degrémont has been the world water treatment specialist for more than 70 years. Operating in more than 70 countries with 4,500 employees, Degrémont generated revenues of 1,520 million Euros in 2010. Degrémont is a world leader in water treatment solutions and technologies such as the production of drinking water, desalination by reverse osmosis, waste water treatment and sludge treatment.

8 thoughts on “Management of entire Perth water supply outsourced to French desalination company”

  1. A brief look at the corporate structures of SUEZ, etc. shows the board heavily loaded with “professional directors”.

    Reminds me of what Winston Churchill once said:
    “Cultured people are merely the glittering scum which floats upon the deep river of production”

    A large corporation is seldom more efficient that a local authority. They both suffer from characteristic institutional diseases. What makes the corporate one “worse” is that, absent competition, they tend to try to manipulate the market to maximise profit. Government then has to legislate to try to put the monopoly of its own creation back in the bottle. At which point the corporation throws it’s arms in the air and scurries away with all the money, saying that it’s impossible to do business in this State/country.

  2. Degrémont is not here to help Western Australia’s environment or to save Western Australia any water or money. They are here to carry off as much loot as possible as fast as possible before anyone notices that they are the cutting edge of the greatest scam in history.

  3. Warwick, baring unusual spring rains, Perth dams have reached their winter maximum, and its the lowest ever.

    Meanwhile the Argyle dam on the Ord river is 90% full and it contains 10 times more water than all the other dams in the state combined.

  4. The Water Corporation and Government of WA have a lot to answer for to the water using taxpayers of WA given they have consistently adapted a “don’t do what we do, do what we say” mentality towards the public and it’s that approach that will see a major shakeup for both the above.

    As a West Australian with a strong interest in water, I can’t recall tenders being called selling off our “most precious resource”, particularly on the basis they have claimed total superiority in all things to do with water and water planning.

    One has to question why Degremont got the big tick as they were also the same proponents that were involvement in WA’s first seawater desal plant at Kwinana at a cost well in excess of
    $400M, exactly the same sized plant with the same out put was built in Singapore, at the same time for $280m.

    The Government and Water Corporation blame differing seawater temperatures for the price difference.

    As has always been the case in WA especially where water is concerned, it has always been “Lies, damned lies and government water spin.

    I’m sure all readers will remember the advent of Australia’s “water crisis” in 2003, where we had this State Government and their trusty Water Corporation, running full page advertisements that the water crisis was “an act of God” in that high CO2 emmissions were restricting rainfall and it wasn’t poor planning and mismanagement on their part.

    Their remedy was to put us all on strict water restrictions (still in place) and ask us to reduce our carbon footprint, putting the onus on us.

    Their response was to install the largest, most expensive, power guzzling polluting monstrosities known to man and increase water prices by over 100% since that time.

    Late last year the Water Corporation announced another $ 1 b profit, then announced another 10% increase in the cost of water to consumers.
    Talk about the water users becoming “milking cows” for an inefficient and contradictory government.

    Peter Coyne

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