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How to Accelerate Design and Construction for Large Water Supply Projects

Presented at ASCE Pipelines Conference 2012

For much of Texas, the drought of 2011 is the most severe one-year drought on record. Climatologists predict the drought will continue for the foreseeable future. Additionally, Texas continues to grow rapidly in many metropolitan areas. These and other factors put pressure on existing water supplies to meet demands. In response, some water suppliers have been forced to develop new supplies on an emergency basis. The compressed schedule of design, permitting and construction offers many challenges to the designer, owner and builder.

This paper offers concepts for expediting the planning, design, permitting, survey, land acquisition and construction of water supply projects. A comparison of the critical path for a normal schedule and expedited schedule is presented for water supply projects. The comparison presents potential solutions to expedite the project schedule, including the following:
• Alternate procurement methods for major equipment items
• Alternate delivery methods for construction including Design-Bid-Build, Design-Build and Construction Manager-at-Risk
• Splitting the project construction contracts to expedite construction
• Survey and easement acquisition for speed
• Design concepts to expedite environmental permitting of intake structures and pipelines
• Project management of planning, design and construction
• Technology tools for managing design and construction

This paper will also provide case studies and lessons learned from three fast-track water supply projects in Texas:
Project A: Design and construction of a 156-mile pipeline, seven pump stations, five electric substations, a 100 million gallon storage reservoir and other facilities in 38 months
Project B: Design, permitting and construction of a new surface water supply including a 30-mile pipeline, intake pump station and booster pump station in 27 months
Project C: Design, permitting, and construction of a new groundwater well field, 65 miles of pipeline, and four pump stations in 18 months.