Water question of the week - What happened to the pipeline along the railway track in Dannevirke

Published 21 Mar 2022

A lot of questions have been asked about the water pipe which was laid alongside railway track in Dannevirke during the 2019/20 summer drought. There has also been some misinformation about the cost, removal, and whereabouts of the pipe.

The pipeline along the railway track was installed as an temporary emergency backup measure during the exceptional dryness caused by the 2019/2020 drought. The plan was to use the temporary pipeline to supplement that town’s water supply while complying with the NZ Drinking Water Standards, after it had been tankered in by train, in case the Tamaki River and water reservoir could not meet demand anymore. Thankfully this did not need to be utilised to sustain Dannevirke’s water supply.
The pipeline was installed under a temporary agreement between KiwiRail and Council. The pipeline cost, including its installation and subsequent removal, was funded through a central government drought relief fund and did not impact ratepayers.

In 2021, the pipe was removed at the request of KiwiRail as the consent was only temporary. Due to the nature in which the original pipe had been manufactured and coiled up for transportation, specialist techniques (such as heating up the pipe) would have been required to recover and reroll it. After assessing the high costs and practicality of this method, it was decided to cut the pipe into lengths so that it could be to be used for other purposes.

Some of the pipe is being reused at Dannevirke’s reservoir and was used as part of the water treatment plant upgrade. More pipe is planned to be used for the upcoming construction of the Eketāhuna water treatment plant.

Pipeline Railway

Photo: Pipes from the railway track are being re-used at the Dannevirke Water Treatment Plant.