Our Water Journey



For more than 170 years Veolia has been providing worldwide local municipalities and industries with the water management, waste-management and energy services vital to human development. Veolia made its way down-under 30 years ago, when Veolia Water Technologies (Kruger) was awarded the Taronga Western Plains Zoo contract. 

Later on in the mid-90s, Veolia was awarded its first operations contract with Sydney Water at the Illawarra and Woronora Treatment Plants. This long-lasting collaboration is still going with several innovations being explored.



Explore some key historical moments from Veolia's water journey in Australia and New Zealand and get to know some of the people that contributed and continue to contribute to our success.





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  • The French Pioneers
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    Compagnie Générale des Eaux (CGE) was established on December 14, 1853 by imperial decree. Its founders had two goals: to irrigate the countryside and supply water to French towns and cities. CGE signed its first contract to supply water to Lyon. Seven years later, the company was awarded a 50-year concession to supply water to Paris.

  • Water Treatment: More than just disinfection
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    From the mid 80s, in the Hunter and Sydney Regions of NSW, direct filtration reached Australia. With no clarification and significantly lower coagulant dose rates than conventional plants, this technology offered much lower capital and operating costs than the alternatives, generating a lot of interest in the water industry at the time. Veolia’s Woronora and Illawarra Water Filtration Plants south of Sydney, and Hunter Water’s plants, operated and maintained by Veolia, are examples of direct filtration plants from that time.

  • Fighting the Bloom
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    In the early 90s, we saw growing investment in  cyanobacteria research, particularly targeting those blooms that can produce toxins and can be dangerous for people's health. A major cyanobacteria bloom was experienced on the Darling River stretching for many kilometres. The work Veolia did in that space in Australia was new on a worldwide basis, not only on cyanobacteria but also on predictive models for coagulation.

  • Global Expertise goes Trans-Tasman
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    Watercare Services, a council-controlled organisation (CCO) responsible for drinking water and wastewater services in Auckland, NZ, required a partner with global expertise to support reliable service provision. Therefore in 1997 they awarded Veolia a 50 year concession to manage water for the Papakura District in South Auckland. Veolia’s expertise maintains public health and environmental protection, assures prudent asset management and  minimises customer charges whilst maximising customer satisfaction.

  • The Membrane Era
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    In Victoria, the Bendigo water treatment plant, when commissioned in the early 2000s, was the world’s largest submerged membrane filtration plant (130 ML/day) The advanced WTP was designed with microfiltration and ozone-BAC to treat  the high risk of pathogens, colour, and taste and odour. The plant created a lot of interest in Australia and worldwide and received a number of international visitors, following a presentation at Ozwater. 

  • Building the first Desalination Plant in Ashkelon
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    In September 2001, Veolia Water and Veolia Water Technologies was awarded a contract that covers the finance, construction and operation of the desalination plants part of a consortium. Located on Israel's southern mediterranean coast, the Ashkelon reverse osmosis plant has a capacity of 330,000m³ per day, the plant produces around 13% of the country’s domestic consumer demand at one of the world’s lowest prices for desalinated water.

  • Recycled Water to fight the Millennium drought
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    The 2000s drought in Australia, also known as the Millennium drought, drove an increased interest in water reuse plants using MF or UF with RO. Veolia built recycling water plants in Kwinana, Illawarra, Brisbane, Rosehill and Gerringong. Notably, Veolia also operates the Namibia plant for direct potable reuse, which has been in operation since 1968.

  • Desalination as an alternative water supply
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    Veolia had some desalination plants operating in the Middle East and drought issues were coming to the forefront in Australia. The Gold Coast Desalination Plant kicked off and desalination using RO technology instead of thermal was developing fast. Quickly following on from this was the implementation of the Kurnell desalination plant in Sydney.

  • Water in Antarctica
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    In October 2001, Veolia Environnement and the Australian Antarctic Division (AAD) signed a cooperation agreement in the area of environmental remediation and waste management in Antarctica. This was the first of a number of cooperative agreements between Veolia and countries operating in Antarctica, including: CONAMA (Chile), October 2002, IPEV (France), July 2003. Spinning off from this initial collaboration, Veolia has continued to work with AAD, universities and water utilities on a number of cold regions water and wastewater treatment research projects. These have included the AWRCoE-funded Robust Recycling Project and the AAD Remediation Program.

  • Securing drinking water at the London Olympics
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    Veolia has contributed to the security of several events since 2012: the London Olympics, the Francophonie Summit, COP21 and soon the Paris Olympics. Distributed over critical points of the drinking water network, Kapta™ probes continuously measure (every 6 seconds) the vital parameters of water quality such as those recommended by the World Health Organisation. The sensors continuously collect the data and transmit it to a secure central server using a radio or GSM communication system. The system helps identify, in real-time, the introduction of contaminating agents into water networks.

  • Water in Mining
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    Veolia provides advanced industrial water treatment solutions at every stage of the mining life cycle, while protecting surrounding ecosystems. In 2013, Ranger Uranium Mine operated by Energy Resources Australia (ERA) selected advanced brine concentrator technology from Veolia to treat and reduce process water inventory from its Ranger Uranium Mine.

  • Resilience and Disaster Management
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    Climate change and human activities are increasing the frequency and intensity of threats such as earthquakes, floods, droughts or bushfires. Veolia in Australia and around the world is committed to drive resilience from preparedness to adaptation. For example, in 2015 we managed the restart of the Sydney Desalination Plant after a tornado hit the Kurnell area. Future commitments include the reintroduction of locally extinct species  to a Conservation Area that makes up one third of the Kurnell Desalination Plant site.

  • Smart Water and Artificial Intelligence
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    Recognising the value of data across the globe, Veolia launched the Hubgrade range of solutions to support water utilities and industrial players towards their digital water transformation. Since 2017, Veolia has been working with Western Water in Victoria to give access to safe, useful, real-time insights on network assets, using existing source systems and developing artificial intelligence analytics to deliver the best customer experience.

  • Celebrating 50 years of water reuse in Namibia
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    To cope with extreme water shortages, for 50 years, Windhoek, the capital of Namibia, has been producing drinking water from its wastewater. This is the first in the world to have developed this type of process. Veolia has been part of the WINGOC consortium since 2001 to produce 21,000m3 of safe drinking water everyday (enough to supply a quarter of the population).

  • Validation of Asset Management Excellence
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    A global leader in asset management, in 2018 Veolia confirmed the alignment with best practice through certification of our Asset Management systems in our Wyuna operation to ISO55001 standards. Certification for our Papakura, NZ operations was achieved in 2021.A global leader in asset management, in 2018 Veolia confirmed the alignment with best practice through certification of our Asset Management systems in our Wyuna operation to ISO55001 standards. Certification for our Papakura, NZ operations was achieved in 2021.

  • Metropolitan Wastewater Management
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    With leading global expertise in wastewater treatment and asset management, Veolia were selected in a competitive tender to operate and maintain all of the wastewater treatment plants in New Zealand’s capital, Wellington.

  • PFAS Contamination Management
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    Considering the evolving focus associated with Perfluoroalkyl and Polyfluoroalkyl Substances (PFAS) risks in the environment and waters, Veolia began the journey to support robust water treatment and extraction approaches to target and remove these subtly named ‘forever chemicals’. These works still continue to date to make PFAS extraction and disposal/destruction more efficient and effective.

  • Becoming the Champion of Ecological Transformation
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    Veolia's journey continues with Ecological Transformation. This defines our purpose as an organisation and the potential impact we have; to achieve this bold mission, ensuring humans and society can thrive whilst preserving and protecting our planet, natural resources and mitigating the impacts of climate change.

  • 5 years of Comprehensive Water Solutions for New Zealand
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    After a quarter of a century of operating in New Zealand, with eight operating contracts, Veolia is a recognised leader in providing relevant and efficient water services to regional communities, and operating responsibly within areas of great environmental sensitivity. 

  • Launching Net Zero offers worldwide
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    Veolia is launching a new positioning as ‘Global Partner for Decarbonisation’ including two key components:

    • Advise & Consult: Integrated operational consulting for decarbonisation solutions, Tools to Measure, Monitor & Report
      GHG emissions & savings, Certification for GHG savings
    • Implement & Operate low carbon systems: Energy Efficiency & Low carbon Energy production (decarbonated power including solar systems, etc), Low carbon materials supply (Water Reuse, Bioconversion, etc), Carbon capture & Storage (Nature based solutions, etc), Residual emissions compensations.
  • First remote water contract
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    The Northern Peninsula Regional Council (NPARC) provides water services to five local communities located at the tip of Cape York, Queensland. The challenging conditions presented by this location have placed a burden on the water infrastructure to continuously provide safe and reliable potable water. The re-engagement of the private market to provide operations and maintenance services and the change of suppliers has led to a series of changes that are aimed at reducing water supply risks for the long term.  Click here to watch how Veolia is supporting and working with the Bamaga community to provide access to safe and drinking water.