Securing Canberra’s water supply

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GHD’s work with the ACT Electricity and Water Corp (ACTEW) on the Cotter Dam is helping to secure the territory’s water supply and raising the bar for sustainable construction. The AUD363 million project involves building a new 87 metre high wall to increase the main dam’s capacity from 4 gigalitres to 78 gigalitres, and building two saddle dams with walls 15-20 m high.

Working in an alliance with ACTEW and construction companies Abigroup and John Holland, GHD has been responsible for engineering design, stakeholder liaison, environmental approvals and safety and quality control during construction. GHD’s analysis identified the best location for the dam wall, and a cost-effective construction method using roller compacted concrete (RCC).

ACTEW Project Manager Ray Hezkial said the alliance partners have benefited from having GHD engineers on site to help resolve design and scheduling issues quickly. "For example, we relocated the intake tower of the dam from the left to the right hand abutment (a major change) to accommodate the construction schedule. This was facilitated by GHD so we didn’t lose time, and in fact we might have made up time. Those sort of things are invaluable."

The RCC method, for which GHD is renowned through the efforts of Brian Forbes, allowed one million tonnes of rock taken from the valley to be crushed and reused as aggregate for the dam foundations. This has cut truck traffic to and from site, reducing the project’s carbon footprint and impact on residents.

For ACTEW, the project has confirmed the benefits of working in an alliance structure. "From a teamwork perspective it has been valuable having access to everyone and having everyone working towards a common goal," Mr Hezkial said. "Alliances promote trust. Everyone shares in the gains, and everyone shares in the losses."



We recognise our clients’ needs for solutions that harness in-depth knowledge with forward thinking to produce innovative, safe and cost-effective outcomes. We have successfully delivered through all methods of project delivery, from the conventional approach to design and construct, alliances and Engineering Procurement and Construction Management (EPCM). 

GHD provides services for the following dam types and appurtenant structures:

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As the world’s population grows and our standards of living improve so does our need to manage the water in our environment. We need to maximise its application for human well-being and minimise impact on the environment. GHD engineers, scientists and planners can provide sustainable, cost-effective and innovative water solutions.  We assist water utilities and others who provide water services to optimise infrastructure and adapt to environmental changes in ways that balance the needs of our communities. And we enable clients to meet compliance, improve profitability and maintain their commitment to sustainability.

GHD continually expands the boundaries by engaging in research, enhancing existing systems and strategies, evaluating new procedures and transferring technology from other industries into the water industry. We work with our clients through all project stages planning, investigation, design, delivery, operation and renewal.

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