Seawater Reverse Osmosis Plant

Welcome to the project webpage for the proposed Seawater Reverse Osmosis plant Project on the Cocos (Keeling) Islands in the Indian Ocean Territories. The information contained within the webpage is derived from the Seawater Reverse Osmosis plant Project Parliamentary Standing Committee for Public Works Statement of Evidence. For information on this document, refer to the PWC Process.

The project will deliver a new 200 kilolitres per day (kL/day) Seawater Reverse Osmosis plant for the Cocos (Keeling) Islands West Island community water supply. This plant will replace the use of freshwater lens located under the operating airfield. This important project will provide water security for the community, and support future economic development of the island. The Seawater Reverse Osmosis Plant is planned to be operational in late 2024.

Proposed works

The scope of works includes:

  • Seawater Reverse Osmosis Plant

    Install a new 200kL/day Seawater Reverse Osmosis plant on Part Lot 100

    Sydney Highway, Cocos (Keeling) Islands, West Island, adjacent to the existing Wastewater Treatment Plant. This plant will replace the reliance on the freshwater lens located under the operating airfield.

Public Works Committee process

The PWC’s Manual of Procedures for Department and Agencies identifies eight steps in the PWC Process:

  • Identification of the need to refer a proposed public work to the PWC;
  • The preparation of a submission to the PWC (the Statement of Evidence);
  • The referral of a proposed project to the PWC;
  • Pre-public hearing activities;
  • Site inspection;
  • Public hearing and follow-up;
  • The tabling of the PWC’s report in the House of Representatives and the Senate: and
  • Parliamentary approval by the House of Representatives for work to commence.

In practice, the Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development, Communications and the Arts groups these steps into four distinct phases: referral, hearing, expediency and reporting.

  • The Project was referred in Parliament on 7 March 2023.
  • The Hearing was held on 21 April 2023 at Parliament House, Canberra.
  • The Project received expediency on 11 April 2023.
  • PWC report outcomes are now available PDF: 512 KB

Community consultation

This information outlines the proposed Seawater Reverse Osmosis plant on the Cocos (Keeling) Islands, West Island. This proposed work is subject to Parliamentary approval.

Key stakeholders and residents on the Cocos (Keeling) Islands will be informed of the project through articles in The Atoll, as well as a fact sheet and frequently asked questions (FAQs).

The Project Team will have direct consultation with key on-island stakeholders regarding the projects.

Contacts and further information

Please email any questions or queries to the Project Team at