Pipeline Access at Connections Project
The Connections Project is the largest irrigation modernisation project in Australia and is funded by the Victorian Government. Valued at 2 billion dollars, the project sets out to ensure the sustainable future of productive agriculture. The project saves water by creating a world leading delivery system to boost productivity and foster healthy waterways. Furthermore, once the channels that caused leakage and evaporation are upgraded, it is estimated that there will be an annual water saving of 429 gigaliters.
Exposed to the harsh Australian sun, the open water channels were evaporating at a rapid rate. The solution was to replace these channels with underground pipes. The channels were drained, backfilled with soil and trenched for the pipeline installation. Excavation occurred for the primary purpose of laying the pipelines and once dug, the pipeline would sit flush underground. Problems were made apparent after the unexpected rain had left the already unstable foundation wet and boggy. Due to this, the excavator was unable to dig a trench as the soft soil caused havoc to its tracks.
How Durabase Mats Were Used
Durabase mats were placed along the trenching route for the excavator to have a stable roadway to dig a trench for the pipeline. The Durabase mats interlocked together continuously and were used to combat hidden bog pits. Perfect for reclaiming water channels; the mats could be picked up and used multiple times. The sturdy mats are 105mm thick and were environmentally friendly for the nearby grasslands. The alternative to using the mats was to use multiple trucks to distribute crushed rock, thereby increasing traffic to the site.
Although ongoing, this project is first in class for irrigation modernisation. The community of farmers and the future generation are all benefiting from this project as this retention program is saving copious amounts of water. With such an important step for the community the irrigator had this to say:
Every drop of water we’ve got, we’re going to have to make it count. It’s a short commodity; therefore you’ve got to make use of technology.
— Russell Pell