Delivering Water Under Budget and Ahead of Schedule
Freese and Nichols provided design and construction phase services for the $100-million Ward County Water Transmission System for the Colorado River Municipal Water District. The new system, which supplies 30 million gallons of water a day, has 21 groundwater wells, 65 miles of pipeline, four pump stations, and other related facilities. The project required seven pipe production plants, seven pipe-laying crews and four construction contractors.
The Freese and Nichols team began design in June 2011. Because the existing reservoirs were projected to run dry by February 2013, the deadline for full operations was Jan. 1, 2013, 18 months after design began. The pipeline went into operation in December 2012, $25 million under budget and two weeks ahead of schedule. Our team was able to accomplish this through the application of a number of innovative ideas:
- The project was split into components to manage the design and construction phases more efficiently. Plans and specifications were developed by three pump station design teams, three pipeline design teams, and a well design team.
- The route avoided areas that would have required the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to issue a Section 404 permit.
- The pipeline was routed along existing pipelines and roads to decrease the number of easements.
- The pipeline was bid early so easement acquisition could occur at the same time as bidding, steel delivery, processing of pipe shop drawings and mobilization. This saved two to three months.
- The Construction Manager at Risk (CMAR) method was used for the pump stations and tanks. CMAR allows the design and construction phases to overlap, and it also results in fewer change orders, both of which reduce the project delivery time.
- Native materials were used for bedding and backfill. This not only expedited construction, it also saved approximately $3 million.
The project was featured in the April 2013 issue of Texas H2O, the newsletter of the Texas Section of the American Water Works Association. The article, which was highlighted on the cover, was a paper written by Nick Lester and Rusty Gibson, both in Water Resources Transmission, Fort Worth, and John Grant, Mitch Holmes and Jim Coley of the Colorado River Municipal Water District. Read the article here beginning on Page 9.
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