Full impacts of March flood at Enlarged Cotter Dam now known

April 27, 2012

ACTEW has today announced that work at the Enlarged Cotter Dam following the March 2012 flooding will resume on 5 May, two months earlier than expected.

“Recovery work following the severe flooding in March has progressed extremely well meaning we can get back to work earlier then first anticipated, and by next week almost all of our workforce will be back on site and ready to resume construction,” said ACTEW Managing Director Mark Sullivan.

The workforce, in addition to those involved in the initial clean up works, have been returning to the site over the last several weeks to prepare for the recommencement of construction.  All staff returning will undergo site and safety re-inductions and refresher training to ensure that safety remains a top priority when work resumes.

“We had estimated that the project would be held up until August, but on the back of some great planning by our construction partners and less than expected damage the delay has been greatly reduced. This combined with over 90 per cent of the required work force having either returned or indicated that they would return to the project means no time will be wasted in getting back to work safely,” said Mr Sullivan.

Inspections following the flood event showed that the new dam held up very well. There was very little damage to the structure itself and although repairs, inspections and certifications to the tower cranes, plant and machinery on top of the wall were required, the damage to these items was far less then it could have been. Significant damage was however caused to the form-work and scaffolding structures that were in the path of the flood water, all of which had to be assessed, repaired or replaced. 

“Following the flooding we have experienced quite dry and favourable weather conditions, which have helped fast track the recovery period. We hope that this type of weather continues through to the end of the project,” said Mr Sullivan.

As a result of the delays it is now expected that placement of the mass Roller Compacted Concrete for the dam will be completed by the end of the year, with final structural concrete and commissioning works to be finalised and completed in April 2013. 

“Placing concrete again for the new wall in May rather than in August is a great result for the project and for the community and means the project budget and timeframe will be less affected than first thought,” said Mr Sullivan.

The full cost of the damage and delays caused by the March 2012 flooding have now been assessed and are estimated to be in the order of $17 million. After insurance claims are taken into account the impact of the flood on the project cost at completion will be approximately $7.8 million.

“For what could have been a catastrophic event this cost outcome is very pleasing and we expect that more than half of the cost will be recovered through insurance claims,” said Mr Sullivan.

Taking into account the delays and associated cost of not only the March 2012 flood, but also previous floods and high levels of rainfall since 2010, which have dramatically impacted the project, the forecast cost of completion is $404.7 million. This is compared to the 2009 expected cost of $363 million.

“While also impacted by the recent floods the good news is that the cost and schedule for the Murrumbidgee to Googong Pipeline project will not be materially impacted and is still estimated to provide a significant $15 million in savings against the original budget and is expected to be completed in July 2012. This saving as well as savings on the Googong Dam Spillway upgrade will offset part of the Enlarged Cotter Dam cost increase,” said Mr Sullivan.

To celebrate the return to full construction ACTEW will be holding an open day at the Enlarged Cotter Dam site on Saturday 26 May. The open day will bus visitors into the construction site to a vantage point that will provide direct views down onto the top of the new wall as it is constructed. Full details of the day we be available soon at actew.com.au