Geodesic dome lifts profile of reservoir

Tauranga’s new $6.5 million water reservoir at Pyes Pa has been given an eye-catching new feature – a geodesic domed roof.

The decision to replace the concrete slabs that usually topped reservoirs has left it resembling a space colony imagined by science-fiction writers.

“The design was adopted because it was easier to install and is self-supporting,” Tauranga’s city waters manager Steve Burton explained.

Once it was commissioned next month, it would bring the number of reservoirs supplying water to city householders and businesses to 15.

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Burton said the geodesic dome roof did not require internal columns or roof supporting beams, and was “significantly lighter” than concrete.

The view of the geodesic dome roof from inside the nearly completed reservoir at Tauranga's Joyce Rd water treatment works. Photo/Warren Carter
The view of the geodesic dome roof from inside the nearly completed reservoir at Tauranga’s Joyce Rd water treatment works. Photo/Warren Carter

Once it was in service, the council will be able to drain and repair a neighbouring reservoir built in 1994 at the Joyce Rd water treatment works. He said it needed repairs and improvements to bring it up to seismic design requirements.

“We won’t know how much this project will cost until we have decommissioned the existing reservoir. At this stage, we estimate it will cost around $1.5m.”

Burton said the council would be commissioning three new reservoirs next year, at Joyce Rd and Kennedy Rd in Pyes Pa and the Eastern Reservoir. Construction of the Kennedy Rd reservoir would begin in February.

Once these reservoirs were commissioned, the council’s big-budget water supply projects would mainly centre on the $115m Waiari Water Supply Scheme, he said.

Water from Te Puke’s Waiari Stream would join Tauranga’s two other water sources set in native bush in the hills behind Tauranga – supplying the Oropi and Joyce Rd water treatment works.

Burton said funding of Waiari would initially be from the interest-free government infrastructure loan.

“We’ll be able to repay the loan once we receive revenue from new houses, development contributions and house rates.”

Tauranga’s Waiari Water Supply Scheme
Where: No. 1 Rd, Te Puke.
How much: $115 million.
Delivery: Underground pipeline from Waiari to Papamoa.
Who benefits: Coastal Papamoa, Te Tumu growth area and backup for Te Puke.
When: Construction 2018-21.

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