Southern Regional Water Pipeline Alliance


Customer: LinkWater (Queensland Government)

Contract type:  Alliance

Location: South East Queensland, Australia 

Fast Facts

  • Approximately 200 km of large diameter water pipe
  • 2.2 km of tunnels
  • 8 large pump stations
  • 7 large storage tanks 
  • Management of 600 directly effected landowners
  • Over 970 approvals secured

The Southern Regional Water Pipeline Alliance (SRWPA) team comprised the owner (LinkWater), designer (KBR) and a constructor joint venture between McConnell Dowell and Abigroup.

The Alliance was responsible for route selection, land acquisition, design, approvals, procurement, construction and commissioning of a new water grid with the capacity to move more than 200 megalitres of water a day through Queensland’s rapidly growing south east region.

This new water grid comprises multiple large diameter water pipelines, pumping and storage infrastructure built throughout south east Queensland. Discrete projects included:

  • The Southern Regional Water Pipeline (SRWP) that could reverse flow; 1086mm MSCL pipe PN21 & 25 x 95km in length from Cameron’s Hill west of Brisbane to Molendinar at the Gold Coast. This pipeline included four balance tanks, 2.2 km of tunnels, 126 road and river crossings (including 34 major crossings) and five pump stations giving it the ability to transport up to 130ML per day
  • The Eastern Pipeline Interconnector (EPI) consisted of 8.71km of DICL pipe
  • The Northern Pipeline Interconnector (NPI) Stage 1 consisted of 51.7km of MSCL, GRP and DICL pipe
  • The Northern Pipeline Interconnector (NPI) Stage 2 was 48 km of underground, reverse-flow pipeline which connected the existing Northern Pipeline Interconnector (stage 1) at Eudlo to the Noosa Water Treatment Plant at Cooroy.

The fast-tracked program required land access, design, 970 approvals and procurement to be progressed simultaneously. Route feasibility studies considered geographical features, environmental factors and land access issues to ensure the least possible disruption to the 600 directly affected landowners, more than 20,000 nearby residents and the sensitive environment.

The SRWP involved a complex stakeholder environment and a project that was delivered under political pressure. The project was delivered during the worst drought on record, with key storages that supplied Brisbane at less than 15 percent capacity.


A fully integrated alliance delivery approach was adopted to ensure a collaborative relationship was maintained. Numerous team workshops were held where not only technical issues were discussed and resolved, but also individual development was carried out through the involvement of high performance coaches.

SRWPA ran an extensive training regime including first aid, specific plant competency, and Workplace Health and Safety officer accreditations. Several industry awards were received by the project and by some team members.

The Alliance achieved the Queensland State Government’s 10% Training Policy. This demonstrates McConnell Dowell’s commitment to apprenticeships and traineeships in the civil construction sector and drove sustainable employment outcomes for Aboriginal Australians in the industry.

An effective communication strategy was established, documented and implemented to manage and coordinate the communications across the project. The Pimpama primary school children helped name one of the Tunnel Boring Machines as Wombat. Several legacy initiatives were delivered to affected local communities.


  • Acquisition of land was a critical path activity and mitigated by utilising existing authority corridors. Construction in existing easements and corridors introduced new hazards for construction teams such as constructing in proximity to overhead powerlines and working in close proximity to traffic.
  • An initial Review of Environmental Factors (REF) was undertaken, and included database searches, route assessment and technical studies. The REF highlighted environmentally sensitive areas to be avoided and identified areas of potential environment significance requiring further investigation. Based on the REF and further field studies, a Draft EIS was prepared, endorsed by the State Government and offered for public comment. As part of this process, the SRWP engaged in information sessions with a range of environmental groups along the pipeline route.
  • The pipeline route was selected to minimise environmental impacts, while also considering social and engineering issues
  • Significant environmental legacy projects were also undertaken, such as the provision of a grant to support research into a quoll population in the Chambers Flat area.


The Alliance implemented more than 900 construction innovations resulting in over $50 million in savings. The team met all schedule milestones and achieved the key performance objectives for safety, environment, quality and stakeholder management. The project won 16 national and international industry awards, including the Queensland Major Contractor's Association Project Safety Excellence Award and the Contractor Excellence Award at the Australian National Infrastructure Awards.


"McConnell Dowell have been an effective and professional alliance partner. The commitment to take on the challenges presented throughout the life of the projects has been excellent, with their management and staff always focussed on addressing the desired project outcomes and the needs of the client."  Steve Pickering, Client Project Manager, Linkwater

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