By: SWE On: February 11, 2017 In: Projects

Project Overview

SWE was tasked with fixing a leaky dam on the Lissaman’s property, Trelawne, on Marama Road in the Awatere Valley, Marlborough. A top quality vineyard producing grapes for a local Marlborough winery, the leak and subsequent water wastage was a major concern for the vineyard with a second extreme summer expected to approach.


Our investigations identified the source of the leak and designed an elegant solution to stop it; one appropriate for this particular vineyard and dam. Our engineers redesigned the dam with a new lining, working in with strategic partners Bryant Earthworks and IS Lining.

Our experienced General Manager, Mike Cooper, project managed from start to finish – running to time (finishing one day ahead of schedule!) and to budget. This was a complex project with multiple contractors and Mike’s particular skill in this area is one of the strengths of the Southern Water Engineering team. It’s fair to say Mike is one of only a few people in Marlborough with the background, knowledge and expertise to manage a project of this scale and complexity, and deliver with such evident success.


Saving water; money well spent.

This effective dam project means the vineyard is now prepared for El Nino in the summer of 2015, but more than that, well future-proofed for whatever else Mother Nature sends their way. Based on measurements taken prior to the project we estimate that the Trelawne dam was losing 25% of its 42,000m3 capacity. This roughly corresponds to 58 days of watering for 10 hectares of grapes (18m3 per hectare per day), which is no longer being lost and can now be used to irrigate their vines.

Furthermore, the United Nations UN illustrate the importance of investing in water with good design and maintenance when noting “On average, the benefits of investing in water management, sanitation, and hygiene range from USD$2 to USD$3 per dollar invested.”