THERE are 28 kilometres of these giant pipes that have been shipped from China to play an integral part in Tasmania's $100 million Midlands water scheme.
The pipes, which have occupied a large area of the Bell Bay wharf since they arrived in late November, are the first shipment of three to arrive in the next month.
They will be gradually taken by road to the construction sites springing up along the course of the scheme to bring water from Arthurs Lake to the flatlands along the base of the Western Tiers.
Tasmanian Irrigation chief executive Chris Oldfield said yesterday that a French company had made the high-performance pipes in China for the New Zealand-based company Fulton Hogan.
Fulton Hogan is building the water scheme from Arthurs Lake to the mini-hydro station at Tunbridge.
``There is nobody in Australia who makes the product,'' Mr Oldfield said.
The French pipes are special ductile, iron-lined concrete to withstand the pressure of the water hurtling down the mountain from Arthurs to Tunbridge.
Southern-based construction company Hazell Bros will take over the rest of the pipe-laying from the Tunbridge power station.
The polyethylene pipes needed for this stage of the scheme are being made by a North-West Tasmanian company at its Wynyard yard.
Mr Oldfield said that the construction of the scheme was a significant civil engineering achievement for the state.
Project manager Sven Meyer said that only part of the load of imported pipes had been taken to the construction site so far.
They are taken two truckloads at a time, with eight pipes a load, four times a day, from Bell Bay to the Midlands scheme.
The last two shipments to Bell Bay in the next month will carry another 12 kilometres of the six-metre lengths of pipe.
Mr Oldfield said that there were already about 100 people working on the water scheme.
At peak construction there will be more than 250 people.