The Clutha District Council is fast-tracking two water infrastructure projects in an effort to ensure their completion.
During its final 2021 meeting in Balclutha yesterday afternoon, the council approved an initial $1.42million budget to allow detailed design of the Milton to Waihola pipeline and Greenfield rural water supply projects.
Unusually, the council approved the procurement of design services by direct negotiation with long-standing provider Beca, rather than by competitive tender.
During discussion, council service delivery group manager Jules Witt said this was recommended due to several factors, including the incoming Three Waters reforms, global supply issues for materials such as pipework and the availability of other suitable design consultants.
Potential reprioritisation of projects under imminent Three Waters reforms meant Clutha’s long-planned major projects should begin as soon as possible, Mr Witt said.
The Milton to Waihola pipeline would involve installing 16km of pipeline, at a material cost of $2million.
This was essential to allow growth in the Waihola area, he said.
“Based on projected growth it’s expected future water demand could more than double. However, the current water supply to [Waihola] is already at capacity.”
Global supply chain issues meant procuring pipework for this, and a further 41km of it for the Greenfield rural water project (at a cost of $5.3million), should occur as soon as possible, he said.
The Greenfield project would improve reliability in the provision of quality drinking water to Balmoral, Tuapeka and Lawrence.
Supply would come from a new bore field on the north side of the Clydevale bridge and involve the amalgamation of five existing rural water schemes.
Mr Witt said other design consultants had indicated they could not begin work on either design until March next year, whereas Beca had provided the initial designs for both projects in 2017, and could begin work immediately.
Beca’s quotes for the work were under budget, giving further justification to the council waiving its usual competitive tender policy, he said.
Cr Mel Foster questioned the repercussions of failing to use a tender process to assign the projects.
Mr Witt said Beca had a long history of “very good” work for the council, and an existing understanding of Clutha’s network and systems.
As other consultants had been canvassed, he did not believe a tender process would produce a better outcome for the council financially or strategically.
Mayor Bryan Cadogan said recent issues with Waihola’s water supply illustrated the urgency of the work required.
“In a normal global environment we’d go through the tender process.
“In this case, we snooze, ratepayers lose.”
Proposals for both projects were approved unanimously.