Every time it rains the new Cotter Dam loses $250,000!

johnboy 22 December 2011 29

The ABC’s Eleni Psaltis has an alarming story on just how bad the delays on the Cotter Dam Expansion have been and how much it’s costing as rain interrupts what was planned to be a continuous concrete pour.

The wall was scheduled to be at 70 metres high this month, but it is still sitting below 30 metres as workers pack up for Christmas.

“We’ve got about 30 per cent of the productive time of November and December that’s been able to be used to place concrete,” said ACTEW managing director Mark Sullivan.

“The problem we have is that rain not only stops us whilst it’s there, but once it rains for about half a day, we lose a day and half once it stops raining.

“And then the guys have been quite dispirited because you get to the end of that day and half and you see the clouds roll in.”

Project manager Ray Hezkial says about 200 workers are toiling around the clock, but rain keeps getting in the way.

“In the aftermath of the rain even you’ve got to actually clean up, so you’re cleaning up the surface and then there’s a very strict regime of preparing the surface before you can resume placement again,” he said.

If rain stops work for one day, it costs ACTEW almost $250,000.

The $120 million project, now a $363 million project will be reporting in February on what extra contingent funding is required.

March is now off the table for completion but they have hopes for the middle of 2012.


What's Your Opinion?


Please login to post your comments, or connect with
29 Responses to Every time it rains the new Cotter Dam loses $250,000!
Filter
Order
dungfungus dungfungus 6:51 pm 18 Jan 12

welkin31 said :

I see this in the Canberra Times.
Cotter’s 30,000t shortfall
BY BIANCA HALL
18 Jan, 2012 04:00 AM
http://www.canberratimes.com.au/news/local/news/general/cotters-30000t-shortfall/2423513.aspx?page=2
Claiming that an unknown fault is an extra problem.
Does anybody know if they drilled before finalizing construction plans ?

One of the union officials said in the CT that Actew should stick to distributing water because they ar not good at building dams. Didn’t the CEO od Actew say his job depended on this project coming in on time and budget? I checked the positions vacant in the CT today and he doesn’t appear to have left yet.

welkin31 welkin31 5:21 pm 18 Jan 12

I see this in the Canberra Times.
Cotter’s 30,000t shortfall
BY BIANCA HALL
18 Jan, 2012 04:00 AM
http://www.canberratimes.com.au/news/local/news/general/cotters-30000t-shortfall/2423513.aspx?page=2
Claiming that an unknown fault is an extra problem.
Does anybody know if they drilled before finalizing construction plans ?

kambahkrawler kambahkrawler 10:03 am 23 Dec 11

Of course I meant “funny”, not “runny”.

kambahkrawler kambahkrawler 10:02 am 23 Dec 11

What would be really runny is if they finish the dam, then as soon as it’s built the rain stops, there’s another 10 year drought and it doesn’t fill, so they decide to build a desalination plant in Jervis Bay for another $2 billion.

Note for politicians and public servants: this is a joke about governments wasting my tax money on pointless things. Please do not create a project plan based on the above. Thank you.

qbngeek qbngeek 9:05 am 23 Dec 11

Classified said :

Googong is full, so anything that falls in the (considerable) catchment will come straight on downstream.

This ios the important thing to remember. November 2010 googong was sitting about 85%, then we had heaps of rain and in the space of a few days it went from 85% to full and then Queangers flooded. However there was a breif period of warning before the floods where we could see the dam rising dramatically, however no-one thought it would happen.

If it occurs again, there is no margin for error and no chance of warning. The dam is already dumping a fair old chunk of water over the wall and down the river. If we get massive rains again, the effect on Quangers will be even worse. However, even though there is a good chance of high rainfall, I haven’t spoken to a single person who is prepared for another flood.

Ian Ian 7:51 am 23 Dec 11

it’s pretty unreasonable to go making assumptions of incompetence based on very limited media reports..

Maybe, but with the ACT Government’s track record, assuming incompetence is a very reasonable starting position.

dpm dpm 2:33 pm 22 Dec 11

dave__ said :

dpm said :

a rumour … that the old dam is to remain once the new dam is built

The old dam will remain in place in part to act as a sediment trap, but mostly because it’s hard to pull down a dam wall – there’s a lot of water on the other side!

Yeah, those reasons are more like it! What I found funny was info from this:
http://www.actpla.act.gov.au/__data/assets/pdf_file/0018/14247/Appendix_M.pdf

Like:
(Page v): “The following places within or in the vicinity of the enlarged Cotter Dam project area have been classified by the National Trust of Australia (ACT) and are those which, in the Trust’s view, are
essential to the heritage of the ACT and must be preserved:
? The Cotter Dam wall and tunnel;”

Page 110: “The effects of water inundation are likely to be variable in their degree of impact. Likely impacts include:
? Blah, blah, blah….
A possible exception to the latter may be the submerged Cotter Dam wall, which could be accessible
to suitably equipped and authorised divers.”

I think this was summarised in the CT at some stage. Basically, the wall must be preserved for heritage value, though only suitably equipped and authorised divers will (if they bother) ever see it again!
Your reasons make much more sense, and they really just needed to use those for justification – no one would have argued! 🙂

BTW EJ: http://www.bom.gov.au/products/IDN65156.shtml
Though it doesn’t look too ominous ATM…

Classified Classified 2:21 pm 22 Dec 11

EvanJames said :

The Spring hasn’t been wet at all, winter and spring saw some drastic falls in rain totals after the wonderful wet summer. Perhaps they’ve had more falls up in the mountains, that’s why they built the dams there after all..

Speaking of rain ,we’re about to get hammered from the SW, and interestingly a cell has suddenly intensified near Jerangle in the Tinderries. Now, about a year ago, we had that microbust in about the same area that caused those massive floods in Queanbeyan. I wonder if the Quangers Xmas shopping is about to be disrupted again?
http://www.weatherzone.com.au/radar/act/canberra

I’m thinking the same thing. If the storms move across and dump a decent amount (e.g. 60mm or more) Queanbo could again enjoy a swim. Googong is full, so anything that falls in the (considerable) catchment will come straight on downstream.

dave__ dave__ 2:13 pm 22 Dec 11

dpm said :

a rumour … that the old dam is to remain once the new dam is built

The old dam will remain in place in part to act as a sediment trap, but mostly because it’s hard to pull down a dam wall – there’s a lot of water on the other side!

EvanJames EvanJames 1:47 pm 22 Dec 11

The Spring hasn’t been wet at all, winter and spring saw some drastic falls in rain totals after the wonderful wet summer. Perhaps they’ve had more falls up in the mountains, that’s why they built the dams there after all..

Speaking of rain ,we’re about to get hammered from the SW, and interestingly a cell has suddenly intensified near Jerangle in the Tinderries. Now, about a year ago, we had that microbust in about the same area that caused those massive floods in Queanbeyan. I wonder if the Quangers Xmas shopping is about to be disrupted again?
http://www.weatherzone.com.au/radar/act/canberra

dpm dpm 1:25 pm 22 Dec 11

creative_canberran said :

Some trivia that makes this all sound even stupider, the authorities of the day decided that in light of the structural weakness of the present Cotter Dam, that a new dam should be built down stream a short distance of the existing wall.

That was in the late 1940s.

The war though had delayed things too long though and they decided to raise the existing wall short of it’s maximum proposed height, the only option in a short time frame given water demands.

Fast forward over half a century later and in 95 a report said we needed a new dam.

Fast forward a decade to 2005 and finally, strongly consider an option chosen half a century earlier already.

Funnier still is that I heard a rumour (correct me if i’m wrong) that the old dam is to remain once the new dam is built, as it is ‘heritage’ listed?! Who’s going to see it? Couldn’t they just have said it was because it would cost too much to remove, and why bother?

Chop71 Chop71 1:14 pm 22 Dec 11

creative_canberran said :

Some trivia that makes this all sound even stupider, the authorities of the day decided that in light of the structural weakness of the present Cotter Dam, that a new dam should be built down stream a short distance of the existing wall.

That was in the late 1940s.

The war though had delayed things too long though and they decided to raise the existing wall short of it’s maximum proposed height, the only option in a short time frame given water demands.

Fast forward over half a century later and in 95 a report said we needed a new dam.

Fast forward a decade to 2005 and finally, strongly consider an option chosen half a century earlier already.

we’ve come so far

creative_canberran creative_canberran 1:00 pm 22 Dec 11

Some trivia that makes this all sound even stupider, the authorities of the day decided that in light of the structural weakness of the present Cotter Dam, that a new dam should be built down stream a short distance of the existing wall.

That was in the late 1940s.

The war though had delayed things too long though and they decided to raise the existing wall short of it’s maximum proposed height, the only option in a short time frame given water demands.

Fast forward over half a century later and in 95 a report said we needed a new dam.

Fast forward a decade to 2005 and finally, strongly consider an option chosen half a century earlier already.

dungfungus dungfungus 12:57 pm 22 Dec 11

Classified said :

It’s a shame they couldn’t have it finished in time to take advantage of the current rainy period.

Hopefully it will be complete in time for Nov/Dec next year.

Just in time for the next 10 year drought cycle.

dungfungus dungfungus 12:56 pm 22 Dec 11

winter said :

So we have a project plan based on it not raining for a long period of time. Am I the only one that thinks this is a major budgeting fail?

They must have consulted the weather with Tim Flannery. He was the one insisting that it would never rain again.

Spectra Spectra 12:53 pm 22 Dec 11

BimboGeek said :

Engineers aren’t supposed to use average or hopeful figures, they are supposed to use error factors and safety margins. This it’s not hard to apply to project planning given that an engineer would have provided timelines and contingencies.

Which they almost certainly did. As chewy14 pointed out, it’s pretty unreasonable to go making assumptions of incompetence based on very limited media reports. Have you seen the project plan? Would you like to be specific about what they did wrong? Thought not. Plus, you build in error margins etc, but you really can’t reasonably account for every single possibility. Should they budget for it raining non-stop (or at least every 3 days) for a month? 3 months? A year?

I do wonder, though, at what point it becomes economically viable to build a big shelter over the thing 🙂 Though, of course, if they did that it’d stop raining on the spot and not start again until they were finished. Then everyone would complain about what a waste of money the shelter was.

Classified Classified 12:49 pm 22 Dec 11

It’s a shame they couldn’t have it finished in time to take advantage of the current rainy period.

Hopefully it will be complete in time for Nov/Dec next year.

BimboGeek BimboGeek 12:08 pm 22 Dec 11

Engineers aren’t supposed to use average or hopeful figures, they are supposed to use error factors and safety margins. This it’s not hard to apply to project planning given that an engineer would have provided timelines and contingencies.

chewy14 chewy14 11:55 am 22 Dec 11

winter said :

So we have a project plan based on it not raining for a long period of time. Am I the only one that thinks this is a major budgeting fail?

Yes, they expected the sun to shine on their construction work 24/7 and they didn’t allow any contingency for rain at all.

Can you tell me where you’ve seen this project plan, I’d like to take a look at it?

Funky1 Funky1 11:52 am 22 Dec 11

winter said :

So we have a project plan based on it not raining for a long period of time. Am I the only one that thinks this is a major budgeting fail?

One would assume that they budgeted for a number of rainy days based on some historical weather records.

You must admit that we have since had a wetter Spring/Summer than usual. How can you effectively budget for that?

CBR Tweets

Sign up to our newsletter

Top

Search across the site