Wellington Water crews repairing the Tauherenikau pipeline that supplies drinking water to Featherston. PHOTO/SUPPLIED

Wellington Water has finished repairing the leaking water pipeline that crosses the Tauherenikau River to Featherston.

Temporary protections were now being put in place, and South Wairarapa District Council would then assess suitable options for a long-term renewal of the pipeline.

The pipe lay in the riverbed and was at risk of exposure due to riverbed degradation.

Wellington Water [WW] customer planning manager Tim Harty said the pipeline was an important asset because it was Featherston’s sole source of drinking water.

“The repair is the first step in a longer-term project, giving Wellington Water and the South Wairarapa District Council time to consider long-term investment options, including ways in which to move the pipeline to a more stable environment,” Harty said.

“This work involved a significant amount of preparation, with the team engaging with local landowners and overcoming complex challenges such as managing a repair in an active and flowing river with unique geographic conditions and rising levels due to high rainfall.

“The work involved excavation of the pipe in an active river environment, stabilising the pipe while installing a clamp over the leaking joint, and placing rock around the pipe to provide protection.

“This work was an important step in creating a resilient supply of water to the Featherston community.”

Although the interim repair was complete, WW teams remained on-site to reinstate affected areas, disestablish a cofferdam, backfill the riverbed, and perform a final works completion inspection.

WW would present various long-term options to the council for consideration by the end of May, “and the public should know the outcome following that discussion”, Harty said.

“The council will need to take into account the level of investment required, as well as other factors such as climate change and major events such as an earthquake and the impact this has on maintaining resilient water supply in the years to come.”

WW had engaged with consultants Stantec and Holmes Consulting to assess long-term investment options.

Harty said the council was scheduled to decide on a long-term solution by the end of July. — NZLDR

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