NEW ORLEANS--(EON: Enhanced Online News)--The Adelaide Desalination Project, an initiative completed by South Australian Water Corporation and undertaken by the South Australian and Australian governments, AdelaideAqua, and the Kaurna community, has been honored by Project Management Institute (PMI) as the winner of the industry’s highest achievement—the 2013 PMI Project of the Year Award.
“Highly complex projects, like this one, require adept management of multiple stakeholders, highly effective communications, and talented project leaders”
Communication, agility, risk management and the management of complex conditions and requirements are the hallmarks of any successful high-stakes project—and few stakes are higher or more urgent than the sustainable delivery of potable water to an entire community. The drought that gripped southern Australia in the mid-2000s was the worst on record. The need for climate-independent sources of drinking water was clear to government leaders and residents—and the South Australian Water Corporation (SA Water) responded with an audacious plan to build an AU$1.8 billion desalination plant in Adelaide, South Australia. Launched in February of 2008, the project originally aimed to construct a 50-gigaliter (13 billion-gallon) seawater desalination facility with the capacity to meet 25 percent of Adelaide’s annual water needs, all with an aggressive completion date of June 2012.
The project was faced with enormous complexities that included environmental sensitivities, geology, scale and risks associated with groundwater, tunneling and marine works, and more. Securing early buy-in from government stakeholders allowed the organization to secure approval for all required contracts and permits within a year of the project announcement—an unheard-of achievement. The organization also launched a stakeholder engagement plan to communicate 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 its aggressive schedule—even when the government had to double the plant’s planned capacity. Though the Australian government added AU$328 million to the budget, the team still had to determine how to accommodate more than 13,000 new activities required to complete the facility—which they did, 19 days ahead of schedule and a full percent under budget.
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.
“Highly complex projects, like this one, require adept management of multiple stakeholders, highly effective communications, and talented project leaders,” said Mark A. Langley, president and CEO of Project Management Institute. “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 completed a critical initiative that not only achieved its business goals, but sustained a community amid critical drought conditions. PMI commends SA Water and the entire project team for these results, and we are honored to name them the 2013 PMI Project of the Year Award winner.”
2014 PMI Professional Awards Call for Nominations
The call for nominations for 2014 PMI Project of the Year, and other PMI Professional Awards, opens in November 2013. Visit www.PMI.org/Awards to apply and access complete award information, including nomination guidelines and FAQs. Help honor excellence wherever it occurs across our ever-evolving profession.
About Project Management Institute (PMI)
PMI is the world’s largest not-for-profit membership association for the project management profession. Our professional resources and research empower more than 700,000 members, credential holders and volunteers in nearly every country in the world to enhance their careers, improve their organizations’ success and further mature the profession.
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