Community engagement for infrastructure upgrades

Posted 3 April 2018

Major upgrades to water supply infrastructure can cause huge disruptions to local communities, but Water Corporation’s recent Newman Town Water Supply Upgrade Project is an example of taking the community into consideration when preparing assets for future works. 

Presenting at the upcoming WAter – A State of Extremes Conference on the upgrade project, Water Corporation Regional Projects Leader Zaw Moe Oo said the project was an “important step” towards ensuring the community has a secure drinking water supply in future. 

“A number of faulty valves in the Newman water supply scheme meant the entire town, some 2764 connected properties, were at times without water when essential work and repairs to water mains were undertaken,” Moe Oo said. 
 
“Valves are normally used to isolate the specific section of main to be repaired, while the rest of the scheme continues to supply the majority of customers. 

“Water Corporation undertook upgrades to improve the continuity of water supply for its customers.”

Moe Oo said the upgrade included the replacement of more than 400m of water main along Giles Avenue and Rundall Avenue. 

“Water Corporation also installed 47 new valves within the water supply network, which will allow it to configure the water supply scheme to limit the impact on customers in the town when essential work is required.” 

Three new magnetic flow meters were installed, to measure the water supplied to the community. There were also 28 new fire hydrants installed to improve the firefighting capacity in the town. 

According to Moe Oo, Water Corporation ensured disruptions were kept to a minimum by delivering the project in two stages, which involved detailed planning, working with multiple contractors and proactive engagement with the community. 

“The construction work was undertaken in publicly accessible areas within the town and involved excavation and the use of heavy machinery near footpaths, roads, homes and businesses. Extensive community engagement was carried out to ensure customers were informed and understood the importance of the project,” he said. 

“To ensure minimal impact to the community, major water supply interruptions were carried out overnight and local businesses were consulted so work could be scheduled at a convenient time. 

“Many people in Newman are shift workers, so extra care was taken to ensure customers were aware in advance of any noisy work taking place. The provision of ear plugs helped to minimise disruption to these customers.”

Register for the WAter – A State of Extremes Conference to hear more from Zaw Moe Oo on how Water Corporation successfully managed the Newman Town Water Supply Upgrade Project.