JOBS ON TAP
Taskforce says locals should build pipeline
THE contract for the construction of a new Haughton pipeline could be divided up to give Townsville firms a fairer chance competing for work against larger companies. The $ 200 million pipeline duplication will be built from steel and guarantee Townsville’s water supply for more than 15 years. The pipeline would be designed and constructed within the next two years and be ready for further expansions and up- scaled pumping capacity to meet the region’s demands over the next 50 years. Taskforce chairman Brad Webb said he wanted local businesses on the job. “We want to break the contract up into smaller contracts so that our local contractors – which have the ability – ( and) don’t ever get confused about the Townsville contractors,” he said. “I could name five or six in this town that could do this in one or broken up into smaller sections.”
TOWNSVILLE’S water pumping costs would be offset by embracing green energy and installing 5MW solar panels under a proposal by the Water Taskforce.
Chair Brad Webb yesterday handed the taskforce’s Interim Report to Minister Assisting the Premier on the North Coralee O’Rourke at Ross River Dam.
The report cited that while raising the wall of the Burdekin Falls Dam and construction of a dam at Hell’s Gate were options, building an additional 1800mm diameter steel pipeline was more viable.
It would have a capacity of 234 ML/ day and be pumped from Haughton Pump Station with the channel also upgraded.
The pipeline is recommended to be constructed within two years.
Mr Webb said the State Government’s Budget commitment of $ 225 million would be enough for the job.
“This project will go ahead and straight away,” he said.
“It’s an integral part of the long- term 50- 60 year fix.”
The taskforce recommended that within the next three to 15 years, a pipeline be constructed to connect the Haughton Pipeline to Clare with a new dedicated 364ML/ day capacity pump station built at the site.
“But that’s not required at the moment,” Mr Webb said.
“This is the most integral part. At the moment we have a small, low- cost emergency pipeline.
“We can start off small and put smaller pumps and a solar farm at the end.
“Then as demand comes up we can build up the pump sizes and the pressure.”
Mr Webb said the solar farm would be connected to the main grid.
“We might be able to do something like run solar during the day, not pump, and then run it in the off peak,” he said.
“A gravity- fed ( pipeline) would cost between $ 1.2 and $ 1.4 billion. With the cost of solar and renewables, we be-
lieve we don’t need gravity, however, we’ve designed the pipeline in our recommendation so that it could, if ever needed, be gravity fed.
“I’ve spoken to Treasury and they said they will bring the $ 225 million forward and make it happen.”
Ms O’Rourke said the report delivered water security.
“We’re ready to go, the money is on the table,” she said.
“Brad said he’s keen to go tomorrow and we will work very closely with council to make sure this happens as soon as possible.”
Mayor Jenny Hill said while council had “a couple” of property owners that needed to be negotiated with, the corridor was “very much in place”.
“It’s a good solution. It really is about what we can afford to pay,” she said. “Whether people like it or not, we need to ensure the water we supply the community is affordable and they have come up with a low cost way.
“This basically means we don’t have to borrow money, which was a big thing.”
Water for Townsville Action Group’s Linda Ashton said it was great news. “We’ve only been together for seven months,” she said.
“There’s no way we thought in June 2017 we would have an announcement like this.
“The move from not having a water problem to now is just miraculous.”
SOLUTIION:: Townssviilllle MP Sccotttt Sttewarrtt,, wiitth Brrad Webb and Corrallee O'' Rourrke att tthe Rossss Riiverr Dam yesstterrday..
SHORT TERM: 0- 3 years MEDIUM TERM: 3- 15 years LONG TERM: 15- 50+ years