Fast-tracked projects as part of SA Water’s ongoing capital program have buoyed the state’s construction industry, with several local businesses awarded millions of dollars of work by the water utility amid the height of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Two concurrent upgrades at SA Water’s Bolivar Wastewater Treatment Plant – worth a total of $5 million – are now supporting 12 full-time Waternish employees over the next 18 months, providing a sustainable stimulus and job certainty for the company.
Since early March, $7 million of work through SA Water’s regional water main replacement program has flowed to M&M Civil and Fleurieu Civil, keeping a combined 25 full-time employees working on upgrading more than 18,000 metres of water main.
Fleurieu Civil’s Managing Director Mark Miller said the steady stream of work ensured five separate crews stayed on the tools.
“Our people have been working together with SA Water throughout the state from Moonta, to Naracoorte and over in Kingscote, and the constant flow of activity provided security for them and their families during a period of global uncertainty,” Mark said.
“The upgrade program is also supporting jobs across our supply chain, benefiting an additional 24 suppliers from pipe and fitting manufacturers to providers of construction material such as bitumen and rubble.
“A reliable supply of water is essential for our communities and we’re pleased to be sharing an opportunity to deliver a project that enhances the delivery of SA Water’s services.”
While the impact of the pandemic spread across the construction industry, resourcing on several of specialised engineering firm Waternish’s interstate projects became significantly more challenging, leaving a third of its construction workforce without active work.
Waternish’s Managing Director Simon White said the Lonsdale-based firm’s resurgence of work enhanced their position amid a challenging time for the industry.
“It was crucial for the health of our business and the wellbeing of our people to remobilise and jump straight back into delivering infrastructure projects as quickly as possible, and with SA Water and infrastructure company Fulton Hogan Utilities’ support, we’ve achieved just that,” Simon said.
“The pandemic’s enduring impact is making it difficult for many companies to maintain cash flow and operate effectively, and our ability to keep work flowing is essential to our long-term business success and allows us to continue to support our local supply chain.
“We’re an incredibly resilient industry and our current environment inspires the team to remain agile, embrace change and seek opportunities to enhance our capabilities, which we’re relishing through our work with Fulton Hogan at SA Water’s Bolivar site.
“SA Water emphasises the value of working with local contractors and we’ve completed a number of capital programs together in recent years, and we’re grateful for the opportunity to deliver more projects that help stimulate sustainable economic development and a healthier environment.”
Awarded in July through SA Water’s standard procurement process, Waternish are supporting the upgrade of the Bolivar Wastewater Treatment Plant’s primary sedimentation tanks and the facility’s digester pipework, which transforms waste into a source of renewable energy called biogas.
The project will help sustain the plant’s treatment capacity and enhance environmental performance by optimising biogas production and energy generation.
SA Water’s Senior Manager of Supply Chain Nicola Murphy said they remained focused on supporting partners and suppliers by driving economic activity.
“It’s now more important than ever to play our role in economic stimulus – by injecting work into the market, ensuring initiatives that will improve our services are progressing and our delivery partners and their supply chains are kept working,” Nicola said.
“Our early procurement of long-lead capital equipment and swift engagement with delivery partners enabled Waternish to hit the ground running and start construction immediately.
“Standing with our partners will see us through to the other side of the COVID-19 pandemic, and coming through loud and strong is their commitment to supporting not only us, but their own businesses, people and the wider economy.”
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