Covid-19 holds up water supply renewal work

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by Chris Tobin

The $24million Downlands (Te Ana Wai) Water Supply main trunk renewal has been held up by Covid-19.

“The stage one contractor has been having problems sourcing material overseas due to Covid restrictions,” a Timaru District Council spokesman said.

“The first stage of the liner has been manufactured and is set to be shipped later this month.

“Installation of the liner is currently scheduled for October.”

A recent meeting of the Downlands water supply committee was advised the contract for the main trunk renewal from Davidson Rd to Cave had been awarded to Hadlee & Brunton and scheduled to start this month.

The Timaru District Council has applied to the Government’s “shovel-ready” fund to upgrade the entire Downlands scheme, which extends across 78,000 hectares in the Timaru, Waimate and Mackenzie districts.

The upgrade is expected to cost about $24million.

A report to the committee said the section from Cave to the water treatment plant in Richardson Rd was in the final design stage and the raw-water reservoir contract had been awarded to Rooney Earthmoving Ltd.

“There are issues around the designation of the [reservoir] site. Some landowners were refusing to sign the affected parties paperwork,” the report said.

“The Mackenzie District Council have been asked to confirm, via commissioner, whether they are an affected party or not.

“If they are, a limited notification hearing would need to proceed and their concerns heard via a commissioner.”

The scheme has five intakes.

The Tengawai intake supplies most of the Downlands water supply; the Waitohi intake covers the area north of the Opihi and Tengawai for about six months of the year; the Cameron’s pump station takes water from the Timaru urban supply pipeline at the Pareora River during peak demand periods; the Pareora township intake supplies Pareora township; and the Springbrook intake supplies Springbrook and St Andrews.

Most of the scheme was built in the late 1930s.

The upgrade will help ensure water safety standards are met and improve reliability.

The scheme has 2300 connections for just over 5000 people.

The report to the committee advised now was the time to increase communication with scheme users about the various upgrade projects as well as of a 21% rates increase.