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Water Intake and Outfall Design

The challenge is to design intakes and outfalls that are robust, constructible and environmentally friendly within cost constraints. 

Founded on project experience, WSP | Parsons Brinckerhoff has developed the expertise required to meet this challenge. A key advantage is our understanding of the marine environment and how to work and design within it.

WSP | Parsons Brinckerhoff has carried out a large number of intake and/or outfall projects.  These projects range from small to very large scale, and could entail the discharge of dense effluents like brines or slurries, buoyant waste waters, or intake of water for desalination or cooling.  Among other projects, WSP | Parsons Brinckerhoff was responsible for design and construction supervision of the marine intake and outfall works of the largest desalination plant (140 Megalitres/day) in Southern Africa.

Services - water intake & outfall design

The services we offer include: 

  • Siting of intakes and outfalls from a marine perspective, taking coastal processes and possible installation methods into account. These activities would include site reconnaissance and comparative assessments;
  • Concept to detailed design of marine intakes, outfalls and diffusers, including hydraulic and structural designs (permanent and temporary works).  These designs would be based on the hydrodynamic loadings determined through a range of computational wave and flow modelling capabilities;
  • Scoping and managing marine surveys, water quality and marine measurement campaigns required to validate computational models and to inform designs;
  • Hydrodynamic modelling of dense or buoyant effluent (or a combination thereof) to determine its dispersion in the marine environment.  This involves state-of-the-art software packages as well as in-house specialized software (e.g. for coupling of near-field and far-field models, and for surf zone discharges);
  • Coastal specialist studies for the Environmental Impact Assessments, such as fine and coarse sediment transport studies;
  • Project management and site supervision of the marine construction.
  • Consulting about on-going site maintenance and operational complications like zebra mussels, ice build up, and dealing with debris, trash, and marine grass.


For additional information on how we can assist you, contact us.