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SA Water seeks new metro services partners

SA Water is on the hunt for new water and wastewater service partners in the metropolitan Adelaide region.

The utility spoke to more than 110 local, national and international specialist water and service delivery organisations recently as part of an industry briefing on the scope of future commercial opportunities.

This is the latest stage of SA Water’s Adelaide service delivery procurement process, which will lead to new contracts being signed to support two areas of its business: water and wastewater production and treatment operations, and network field services.

It comes as SA Water’s 10-year contract with Allwater (a joint venture between SUEZ and Broadspectrum) draws to a close on 1 July 2021.

SA Water CEO Roch Cheroux said the utility wants to ensure the new contracts are flexible in their management and delivery.

“Agility is key to our ability to continuously improve our operations and the services we provide to our customers, and the way we set up our partnerships needs to reflect this,” Cheroux said.

“As well as bringing great technical expertise and practical experience, our future partners will be fully aligned to our business strategy and our vision to provide South Australians with world class water services for a better life.

“It’s very pleasing that the industry is already indicating an appreciation of the need for expertise to be delivered in a way that prioritises customer experience.”

Cheroux said the contracts must also reflect the changing nature of the water sector.

“So many aspects of our operating environment have changed over the last 10 years – including our customers’ expectations of us, and our expectations of ourselves – so we need contemporary commercial contract arrangements that position us for the immediate future and to be continually responsive to change further down the track,” he said.

“We’ve analysed the performance of the current alliance contract and looked to best practice models from around the world, and we’re confident our approach will deliver better outcomes for our business and therefore our customers.”

Production and treatment operations in the Adelaide area include six water treatment plants and five wastewater treatment sites.

About 400 Allwater staff currently help deliver services within the metro region, and Cheroux said SA Water would continue working with them to ensure a smooth transition.

“The extensive experience and knowledge of the Adelaide network will continue to be of value and people working within the alliance delivering water services in metropolitan Adelaide will have opportunities to remain in the industry, beyond July 2021,” he said.

“We’re already national leaders and recognised innovators in the production and management of water, wastewater and recycled water, and partnering with other leaders means we can learn from and leverage their expertise to help deliver a better life for our customers.”

An expression of interest process will begin in June 2019, with shortlisted applicants proceeding to a request for proposal activity. This will run from October 2019 to March 2020, with an independent probity advisor overseeing the process from start to finish.