25 July 2019 – Excavation due to begin shortly on the $104.4 million Waimea Community Dam will give a better understanding of the geological realities ahead.
Fulton Hogan is joint venturing with Taylors Contracting on the three-year project in the Lee Valley, about 36km south-west of Nelson.
Project Director Peter Wissel calls it a ‘one-in-a-kind’ project.
“It’s definitely got its technical challenges – the remote location, the need to divert a live river and some uncertainty about the geology – but that makes it a great project technically.”
The geology has been identified as one of the major risks, the full extent of which will only be uncovered during the excavation process.
“Until we start opening up the ground and looking at the geotech, we don’t know what we’re going to be in for,” Waimea Water Ltd chairwoman Karen Jordan said at an on-site media event. “However, while there’s some uncertainty, every single best practice project device and discipline has been deployed here.”
Waimea Water Ltd is a joint-venture between Tasman District Council and Waimea Irrigators Ltd.
Local MP and a man who did his engineering PhD on the Clyde Dam, Hon Nick Smith, also acknowledged the risks.
“Anything that is involving earthworks and geotechnical has some element of uncertainty,” he said. “No matter how many drill holes you put in, the nature of the broken-up greywacke country that we have in a region such as this, there will be some uncertainty.”
Fulton Hogan will have in excess of 100 people on site during the project, drawn predominantly from the local construction market and supplemented with specialists from New Zealand and overseas.
The dam is being developed after multiple droughts in the region over the past 15 years put severe pressure on the local community and businesses, including horticulture and agriculture.
The photograph shows the team breaking the soil: Matt Taylor (Fulton Hogan Taylors Joint Venture Earthworks Manager); Dave Faulkner (Fulton Hogan Chairman); Justin Carter (Ngati Koata Trust General Manager); Julian Raine (Waimea Water Limited Director); Mike Scott (Waimea Water Limited CEO); Hon Nick Smith (MP for Nelson); Richard Kempthorne (Tasman District Council Mayor); Karen Jordan (Waimea Water Limited Chairperson); Bruno Simpson (Waimea Water Limited Director); Peter Wissel (Fulton Hogan Taylors Joint Venture Project Director)