Icon Water has welcomed the Auditor General’s Performance Audit Report on the Bulk Water Alliance (BWA), which highlights the ability of the alliance model to ensure water security for the ACT. The model was deemed appropriate and effective to deliver water projects throughout the state.

The audit report considers key aspects such as the planning, establishment and management of the alliance and its delivery of three major projects– the  Enlarged Cotter Dam (ECD), the Murrumbidgee to Googong Pipeline (M2G), and the Googong Dam Spillway Project (GDS); and project timing, budget and communication for the ECD.

“The audit report acknowledges that, because of the high value and complexity of the ECD and M2G projects, the use of an alliance framework was effective and appropriate,” said Icon Water’s Managing Director, John Knox.

“The report also identifies that the BWA selection process conformed with best practice guidance and ACTEW’s management of the BWA was effective with respect to governance, administrative arrangements, systems and processes.”

“Importantly, all projects completed by the BWA provided ‘lessons learned’ for the alliance partners, many of which are identified in the report. These are lessons that Icon Water is taking forward to its latest, albeit smaller, water infrastructure projects,” he said.

“The work completed by this audit, along with the BWA’s own analysis and reports, ensures that those involved, and others undertaking similar work have a detailed record of successes and the lessons learned.”

“The construction of the enlarged Cotter Dam was one of the most significant infrastructure projects in Canberra’s history and has increased our water storage capacity  by 35 per cent and provides water security for generations of regional expansion.”

Important elements of the project:

  • the enlarged Cotter Dam is approximately 28 stories high (87 metres);
  • it is the largest Roller Compacted Concrete (RCC) dam ever built in Australia;
  • construction took place in an area that had limited access and physical constraints including a narrow gorge;
  • the project involved over 4,000 personnel who worked over 2.5 million hours;
  • temperatures during construction ranged from -8 to 40 degrees;
  • work was rain affected for 246 days;
  • the work site was devastated by floods in 2012.

The quality of the dam has been recognised through the receipt of ten industry awards including:

  • two Engineering Excellence Awards;
  • two institute of Public Works Engineering Australasia awards;
  • an Australian Water Association National Program Innovation Award;
  • an Environmental Excellence Award from the International Erosion Control Australasia.

“Like our BWA partners, Icon Water and its employees remain immensely proud of their involvement in this significant project.”

“We are proud of the positive legacy the Cotter Dam project leaves for the people of Canberra and the surrounding region and most importantly, despite the huge safety challenges, the project was completed without loss or major injury, with all personnel returning safely home to their families,” Mr Knox concluded.

Current dam story capacity is sitting at around 79 per cent.

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