Major water projects require legal solutions from advisers who understand how the industry operates. Water industry participants, developers and the public sector look for authoritative advice on issues including reforms, access rights and transferability, environmental impacts and construction of new infrastructure (particularly using innovative methods of project delivery and funding).

MinterEllison has been the legal and strategic adviser to more than 80 major water projects in Australia and Asia over the past five years. Our water sector clients include governments and government owned entities, private sector project proponents and financiers. We have advised on projects in the agricultural, mining, petroleum and urban development sectors. We have also advised governments on major water reform initiatives.

Our strengths include advising clients on rights to access water (both statutory and contractual); transferring and taking security over water rights; advising owners and operators of water and sewerage infrastructure on their regulatory rights and obligations; water resource management planning and compliance; water infrastructure development and project management (including tenders, design, construction, operation and maintenance, and supply and distribution regimes); competition and trade practice issues; native title; litigation; and GST and tax advice.

We are experienced in drafting complex documents including term allocation and delivery contracts; transportation contracts; water reservation; water substitution and water supply agreements; contribution agreements; interconnection arrangements; supply, operation and maintenance agreements; and addressing the interface with existing ‘legacy’ contracts (in relation to issues of source, quality and commingling of supplies).

Mundaring Water Treatment Plant PPP Project

Advised on syndicated debt project finance commitments for the consortium's shortlisted bid for the Western Australian Government's Mundaring water treatment plant PPP project. This is the first of a number of projects to use the PPP procurement methodology in Western Australia and was the first PPP style project finance transaction completed in WA. It was further complicated by the intricate long-term energy/power requirements of the financing as well as the inclusion of existing pipeline assets of the WA Water Corporation into the project financing.