A new chapter of water security for 200,000 customers in southern Tasmania was written in September 2023, with TasWater officially opening its upgraded Bryn Estyn Water Treatment Plant (WTP).

The project, which was TasWater’s largest ever capital works project, was delivered on time and under its $243.9M budget. The new water treatment plant will provide safe, clean, and reliable drinking water for generations to come. TasWater Chief Executive Officer, George Theo, said the opening marked a major milestone for Greater Hobart. “This was a landmark day for southern Tasmania,” Mr Theo said.

“The new plant is able to treat 160 million litres of water per day. It’s been designed for future population and economic growth, with the potential to be expanded to treat another 40 million litres of water per day if required.

“The project is a story of infrastructure, economic benefits, current and future jobs, protecting and enhancing the natural environment, and providing opportunities for Tasmanians. It is also the story of TasWater’s dedication to securing the best possible customer outcomes now and long into the future.”

Taswater’s largest-ever capital works project

Located north of Hobart in the Derwent Valley, the Bryn Estyn WTP is Greater Hobart’s primary source of drinking water, providing around 60 per cent of the water supplied to southern customers.

Water from Bryn Estyn winds its way through 433km of water mains and into 145 reservoirs before reaching the taps of customers in Hobart, Glenorchy, Kingborough, Brighton, Derwent Valley, Southern Midlands, Sorell and Clarence.

The original plant was built in 1962, with capacity augmentations in 1972 and 1992, and construction work on the current upgrade commencing in mid-2021. All major structures, buildings, electrical and mechanical installations are now complete, with the new infrastructure commissioned, and the plant officially opened at an event on 22 September 2023, which gained widespread media interest in Tasmania and beyond.

TasWater’s General Manager Project Delivery, Tony Willmott, said the scale of the project is unprecedented for TasWater. “In the early phase of the works, 11,456 cubic metres of concrete was poured, 2,800 tonnes of reinforcing steel placed, and more than 93,000 cubic meters of soil was excavated,” Mr Willmott said.

“TasWater is currently delivering a planned 10-year, $1.84 billion capital investment program for completion in the financial year 2025-26. The program is delivering important customer and environmental outcomes for the benefit of all Tasmanians.”

TasWater CEO, George Theo, at the official opening of the Bryn Estyn WTP.

A bigger picture than steel and concrete

“During construction the project employed around 1500 people directly, and 500 indirectly,” Mr Willmott said. “At its peak, around 150 people were working on site every day, generating benefits for Tasmanian businesses across the state.”

The Bryn Estyn project was delivered by TasWater’s Capital Delivery Office (CDO), an alliance with UGL Limited and CPB Contractors, along with their sub-alliance partner WSP, which will continue to deliver TasWater’s accelerated Capital Work Program through to July 2025.

It is a model that continues to directly support the Tasmanian economy, with more than 80 per cent of the total value of CDO packages being awarded to Tasmania-based suppliers, providing a significant economic boost for the local civil construction sector and its supply chain, growing the capability of the local contractor market for future projects.

Water surety and safety

TasWater’s Head of Water and Environment Services, Fran Smith, said the upgrade expanded the capacity for the organisation to deliver greater volumes of high-quality, safe drinking water for Hobart.

“To be able to treat and deliver 160 million litres of water every day, with every litre meeting the Australian Drinking Water Guidelines, is not a small task,” Ms Smith said. “Each drop of water that has passed through Bryn Estyn has been subjected to a treatment process that includes filtration, ozone, absorption using activated carbon, chlorination, and now Ultra Violet disinfection for an extra layer of treatment.

“Just last year alone, across the state we undertook 273,000 tests to ensure Tasmanians could turn on the tap with confidence knowing their water is absolutely safe to drink, one test every two minutes.”

Customer and community focus

Mr Theo said TasWater was all about a customerfocused future. “TasWater has a range of initiatives underway as we ramp up our customer and community focus and continue our journey to being the best service provider in Tasmania. The project takes us one step closer to realising our strategic vision ‘to unlock the full potential of water’ for a thriving Tasmania.

“We are proud of what TasWater is delivering, and the Bryn Estyn WTP is a prime example. While it is a story of a vast infrastructure project, it is also a human story for so many people, not least our customers, who will receive the benefits of the Bryn Estyn WTP upgrade for decades to come.

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