RDR excavation under way

Work on site at the Rangitata Diversion Race preparing for the rerouted race through the newly installed fishscreen.

Water to the Rangitata Diversion Race (RDR) has been shut down for the first time in five years, and work started on the cutover of the canal into the fishscreen.

Crew from Grant Hood Contracting started excavation works early last week of the section between the existing RDR canal and the new facility.

RDR Management Ltd chief executive officer Tony McCormick said a section of previous path to the fishscreen was quickly being dug out and carted away.

“Our programme is to have this final piece of work completed and begin’watering-up’ on the 7th May.”

Since hosting a public open day on April 10, four representatives from AWMA – the Australian company that manufactured the fish screens – have been on site.

AWMA representatives, from left, managing director Brett Kelly, design manager Craig Ross, engineering manager Lachie Mathers and project manager Mitch Ablett get a top the RDR fishscreen they helped manufacture.

“The covid pandemic has prevented them from visiting the site throughout the whole construction phase, so they were dead keen to get over and check out the installation of their equipment,” Mr McCormick said.

“They were thrilled with what they saw, and the two days with them on-site were extremely valuable for us all.”

Live fish trials have been run in fish capture test facility in the bypass channel of the soon-to-be-redundant BAFF fish screen facility, Mr McCormick said.

“We are trying to refine our methodology for testing the new fishscreen to verify that the fish are returned to the river safely. This requires catching the small fish after they exit the facility and checking for any injury or damage.”

It was easier said than done, he said.

“The trials have provided valuable information for us to refine the design our testing system.”

Mr McCormick was always keen to provide opportunities for members of the community to see for themselves what a fabulous legacy his predecessors had provided and was grateful for those who took the time to attend the open day.

“We take our responsibility very seriously to ensure the RDR continues to provide sustainable water delivery to our region,” he said.

The website is currently undergoing a revamp, but once upgraded people will be able to keep up to date with all activities at www.rdrml.co.nz