Pipeline renewal project closes in on construction


Pipeline renewal project closes in on construction

SA Water’s renewal of the Morgan to Whyalla Pipeline is a step closer to starting construction, after the utility completed an environmental assessment as part of efforts to help protect a new Threatened Ecological Community present along the pipeline’s route.

Informed by ecological field investigations between Morgan in the Riverland and Hanson, located north-east of Clare, the assessment was referred to the Commonwealth Department of Climate Change, Energy, the Environment and Water (DCCEEW) in late December 2022 for consideration.

A reduced construction corridor, avoiding hollow-bearing trees where possible, and establishing conservation sites to offset the impact of clearing native vegetation are among the measures SA Water plan to adopt.

SA Water’s Senior Manager of Capital Delivery Peter Seltsikas said the modified construction methodology will deliver a better environmental outcome, while securing reliable water services for regional South Australia.

“During the past three months, we’ve been on the ground looking at the occurrence of native vegetation and bird species within the threatened community to understand practical changes we can make to limit our impact on the surrounding environment,” Peter said.

“While we are limited due to our work being centred on an existing asset, we are adjusting our methods to reduce the corridor we are working within by three metres, helping minimise our construction footprint.

“This will add time to our project as we will be moving along the pipeline slower, but we are simply not willing to compromise on protecting native flora and fauna.

“We will need to remove native vegetation to enable construction of the new pipeline in some cases and this will be managed with care to ensure we can rehabilitate the sites following construction.

“To offset clearing vegetation, we are also contributing into the state’s Significant Environmental Benefit fund and working closely with the South Australian Department for Environment and Water to establish conservation sites of mallee vegetation to support the community’s regeneration across the region.

“As the first project that needs to consider this newly-listed ecological community, we want to set a high standard for maintaining a responsible balance between delivering essential infrastructure and preserving the natural environment.”

Last year, SA Water announced the project would be postponed to 2023, with the temporary pause providing the necessary time to prioritise additional environmental assessments and develop mitigation measures.

Mr Seltsikas said while DCCEEW’s review of the assessment was underway, the utility continued preparing for the start of construction in the background to ensure crews were able to hit the ground running.

“After finishing our designs, we’re progressing construction planning, market engagement and procurement to enable on-site work to start swiftly once the referral’s determination has been made,” Peter said.

“Members of the public are able to follow the project’s referral progress and provide comment online via the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Act Public Portal.”





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