THE SUCCESS OF THE ADELAIDE DESALINATION PROJECT
The PMI Project of the Year for 2013 was won by the South Australia Water Corporation for the Adelaide Desalination Project. This project was performed to raise Adelaide out of its worst droughts. It was also completed ahead of schedule and within budget. Though the project ran into some uncertainties even before its start, due to some exceptional management practices followed by the Project Director and his team, the project was a resounding success. This report studies some of the key aspects that led to the success of this project and it eventually winning the coveted PMI Project of the Year Award.
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This included knowing and meeting all legal requirements, reporting unethical or illegal conduct to appropriate management, fulfilling commitments and protecting proprietary and confidential information. They were respectful of themselves, listened to others and protected resources entrusted to them. They were fair and transparent in decisions including disclosing conflicts of interest to appropriate stakeholders.
Milind successfully delivered the Adelaide Desalination Project as Project Director with full responsibility for all aspects of the project from inception to handover. Milind was also responsible for all Operations and Maintenance and reported to SA Water’s Chief Executive and the Board.
SA Water convinced stakeholders that the solution for South Australia's lingering drought was an AU$1.4 billion desalination plant. As the drought deepened, the government even increased the project budget by AU$450 million, pledging to double capacity and begin production 12 months early. But then it rained. And support for the project ebbed as the people wondered whether such a desalination facility was required at all. The team quickly responded – and their outstanding project management and stakeholder communication turned the tide.
The project was faced with enormous complexities that included environmental sensitivities, geology, scale and risks associated with groundwater, tunneling and marine works. Securing early support from government stakeholders allowed the organization to secure approval for all required contracts and permits within a year of the project announcement. The organization also communicated the project’s benefits to the surrounding community, specifically the Kaurna indigenous population that had long occupied the area.
The project team worked closely with community leaders, integrating Kaurna artifacts and cultural history into a planned on-site visitors’ center. The SA Water delivery team also created strict risk-assessment and inspection processes that kept the team on schedule. Though the Australian government increased the budget, the team still had to determine how to accommodate more than 13,000 new activities required to complete the facility.
Since the project was passed to the operations team in December 2012, the facility has supplied the region with more than 45 billion liters (12 billion gallons) of drinking water, enough to fill 18,000 Olympic swimming pools.
By leveraging strong, standardized project management practices, innovative ways to identify risks and overcome unexpected changes, and top-notch communication, SA Water Corporation conquered the complexity challenge and safely...