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Major water shortages are being encountered around the world in both developed and developing nations. Desalination offers a reliable source of water supply that is not climate dependent. As a result, many utilities throughout the world are turning to desalination to improve the security of their water supplies and to avoid major social and economic disruption.

As the world's demand for water grows and communities seek to reinforce their water supplies with non-climate dependent sources, desalination of brackish water or sea water has become an increasingly attractive option. GHD's work has included significant desalination projects in Australia, the USA, Mexico, Africa and the Middle East with plant capacities of up to 250Ml a day.

Our team provides comprehensive services covering the desalination of saline water sources such as sea, estuarine and brackish water for municipal and industrial applications. We offer a multi-disciplinary approach to deliver cost-effective and innovative solutions that harness the latest advances in desalination technologies.

But the effective delivery of desalinated water is much more than just technology.

GHD services cover technology and site selection (including environmental impact assessment), and infrastructure planning and design (piping, pumping, intake and outfall structures, high and low voltage electrical work, material durability and selection, storage, filtration, chemical dosing, instrumentation and control).

GHD also undertake water quality assessments, pilot studies, hydrodynamic modelling for intakes and outfalls, pre- and post-treatment requirements, community consultation, environmental management, design life assessments, procurement and owner's engineering services.

For further information, contact:

Calvin Lai
Service Line Leader, Desalination – Australia, Chile, New Zealand, Asia Pacific, Europe and the Middle East
T: +61 2 9239 7274
E: Calvin Lai

Kevin Castro
Service Line Leader, Desalination – North America
T: +1 315 679 5800
E: Kevin Castro

Carlsbad Desalination Plant (CA, USA)


GHD in collaboration with Butier Engineering were selected by Poseidon Resources to provide Owner's Engineering services for the development, construction and commissioning of the 50 MGD Carlsbad Seawater Desalination project. 

As Owner’s Engineer, GHD and Butier have and continue to provide general oversight and independent assessment of the performance of the Engineering Procurement Construction (EPC) Contractor relative to the delivery of the Carlsbad project.

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Gold Coast Desalination Plant (Qld, Australia)


GHD was initially engaged to identify alternative seawater desalination technologies as part of a scheme to meet the Gold Coast Council’s future water needs as outlined in its WaterFutures program.

Following this review, GHD undertook water quality analyses and developed preliminary concept designs for a 50Ml/d to 100Ml/d seawater desalination plant. The continuation of the drought had brought this project forward and GHD provided technical support to the procurement team to deliver the project. This project is now being delivered under an alliance contract.

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Sydney Desalination Project

In early 2005, GHD, and its partner Fichtner, were engaged by Sydney Water to undertake a feasibility study to determine if desalination was practical as an alternative water source that would complement Sydney’s existing water sources. The feasibility study, undertaken together with Sydney Water, in an integrated project team set the foundation for this milestone project.

The project comprised three main components, a 250ML/day capacity reverse osmosis desalination plant, the intake and outlet tunnels and associated marine works, and the delivery pump station and 18km long transfer pipeline across Botany Bay to the centre of the city. In a world first cement lined steel pipes of this size had never before been laid simultaneously in a string and placed in an underwater trench.

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Victorian Desalination Plant

GHD has been engaged to provide a wide range of engineering, planning and environmental advice to the Victorian Department of Sustainability and Environment for the proposed AUD$3.1 billion Victorian Desalination Plant.

The project includes a desalination plant near Wonthaggi, transfer pipeline to Melbourne, marine tunnels for the extraction of seawater and return of concentrate to the ocean, and a power supply for the plant.

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Dubai JAFZA Water Utility


GHD is playing a leading role in Dubai’s current and future water requirements.

Our team in the Middle East has completed preliminary engineering work on the Jebel Ali Free Zone (JAFZA) Utility project to provide water infrastructure to an area of 8500ha that includes the JAFZA Free Trade Zone, Technopark and downtown Jebel Ali. These precincts comprise both greenfield and existing development with industrial, commercial and residential land uses.

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