ACT Chief Minister Katy Gallagher has officially launched the Cotter Dam Canberra following the successful completion of construction.

The dam is expected to support the economic growth and development of Canberra and the ACT through its next hundred years, providing long-term water security through whatever conditions we may face through our changing climate. Today, the dam is already more a third full.

Ms Gallagher was delighted to mark the completion of the dam and launch the next hundred years of water security for our community:

“A project of this scale has had significant economic benefits for the ACT economy through an active construction sector and the creation of hundreds of jobs.

“I would like to thank the Bulk Water Alliance for their professionalism in undertaking this massive project and thank the Board of ACTEW and Mark Sullivan and his staff for their dedication, oversight and management of this very complex project.

“This is an historic day for the ACT and this major infrastructure project is evidence that Canberra is a 21st century city where investments made now will pay off for the future benefit of the city”

ACT environment groups are welcoming the completion of the dam, which has helped to protect and enhance the neighbouring environment.

In delivering the project, the Bulk Water Alliance joint venture through planning approvals and design incorporated the history and heritage of the Cotter River into the construction philosophy.

Ray Hezkial, ACTEW’s Project Manager on the construction program said:

“The community has always been very much at the heart of this project and in delivering water security for future generations of Canberrans we have considered many, many facets of the environment, our heritage and our history. While much of this was instigated by the planning approval process, it has been the detail and enthusiasm with which the project team has entered into these many aspects and in particular the partnership with Parks and Recreation, who will be the custodians of this area once we have handed the river back to the community.”

ACT Parks & Conservation Service’s Brett McNamara said:

“I can recall early conversation based on the premise of ensuring that post Dam construction, we would have an enduring and lasting legacy. Today as you stroll down the majestic tree lined Cotter Avenue we have collectively achieved that vision.”

There have been numerous environmental considerations of the project throughout the design, planning and construction phases. These include:

Around a million tonnes of foundation bedrock was quarried and retained on site to be crushed and used in the construction of the dam wall.

Processing and crushing this bedrock onsite into aggregate for Roller Compacted Concrete use saved a potential 2,856,400 kilometres of construction vehicle journeys – enough to circumnavigate the equator 71 times, or go to the moon and back 3½ times.

Management and rehabilitation of 420 hectares of native land in the Cotter Dam catchment area to offset the biodiversity impact of constructing the new dam

Commitment to offset all carbon emissions associated with the construction and operation of the project

Relocation of more than 120 Grass Trees (Xanthorrea) from the inundation zone. These were replanted on the Discovery Trail, at the Australian National Botanic Gardens Canberra, at the National Arboretum and in rehabilitated areas of the Cotter catchment.

In consultation with the Yurung Dhaura Indigenous work group, a nursery of bush medicine and traditional food species was planted.

The new Cotter Dam construction program has also supported local wildlife, with the habitat of the endangered Macquarie Perch a key component of the design and planning. The team has been working with experts from the University of Canberra to develop a world first in rock reef technology to provide a safe and sustainable environment for this rare indigenous fish to thrive.

For more information visit the Actew Water website.

Michelle is a freelance journalist and editor who, as well as covering all the latest and breaking industry news, is a gun proofreader and editor who never misses a trick.

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