The plan is to have water available to irrigate at least 5000 ha on the south-western section of the project
around Te Pirita by September 2014 with the remaining 15,000 ha of Stage 1 receiving their water by September 2015. But for the plan to work, everything is going to have to fall in our favour. We can’t afford to have any breaks in the process.
The secret to completing this project on time will be ensuring that we engage with our contractors at the earliest possible stage so they can hit the ground running in September this year. However, the process of selecting these contractors must be a truly competitive process to ensure that stakeholders get value for money.
Our engineering consultants are well aware of this and the added degree of complexity created by the short timeframe, so are designing the programme in such a way that we can achieve this goal.
This is not a conventional, sequential programme.
We are able to separate different parts of the construction process so that work can be undertaken concurrently in different areas. For example, we can work on the headrace and the pipe network and join them at a later date.
Even with the headrace we are able to break it down further so that our contractors can be working on three sections. There’s the plant itself, there’s the 40m-wide cut into the embankment from where the water is taken from the river to where it comes up onto the plateau and then there is work on the plateau itself. Even though these are reasonably close together, different contractor teams can be working on their individual projects without tripping over each other.
The first stage of the piped network will include 50kms of pipeline of different sizes. Again, the site of the area involved is so big it can have a number of contractors laying the network at the same time.