Kurt Douglas, Matt Spannagle and Robin Fell
This paper describes a method for estimating the probability of failure of concrete and masonry gravity dams through the dam or the foundation. The method is based on the research and analysis of historic failures and accidents performed at The University of New South Wales over the last two years. The method accounts for dam type; age; foundation; height/width ratio; dam performance observations; and monitoring and surveillance.
One of the most important issues during design and construction of an earthfill dam is how to secure a dam against unwanted events which may occur as a result of water flow (uncontrolled seepage, leakage & piping) through the dam.
Although earthfill dams are the largest by volume compared with other types of dams and they are designed to cope with seepage, their integrity is most sensitive to the effects which may be caused by it. The reason being that the earthfill materials are generally extremely heterogeneous and only one “unwanted” pocket is enough to create problems.
Another critical area is the foundation. In many situations it is not possible to avoid the complex geology which includes faults and joints as part of the foundation. An additional complication may be the presence of dispersive clay in the foundation.
In the area of tailings dams, the problems with seepage are slightly reduced as in most cases, tailings provide a degree of sealing. Tailings dams are very often designed as leaky dams. However, there is a hidden danger in approaching the design this way as at any stage of their lives they can retain water.
This paper presents two case histories of repairs carried out to tailings dams suffering leakage. One case describes leakage through the embankment wall while the other describes seepage through the foundation which contains dispersive soil.
A safety review of the Corin dam has identified several deficiencies including an inadequate spillway capacity. A hydraulic model test, included in the review indicated that the construction of a 1.3m wave wall along the top of the dam was required to prevent overtopping during the flood of 10,000 years.
The original post tensioning anchors installed along the spillway crest were also identified as unreliable due to inadequate corrosion protection measures.
This paper presents safety assessment and aspects of the construction of the remedial works for Corin Dam. As part of the safety review, the condition of the dam was reviewed against the risks of piping, slope instability, flood and seismic forces. The paper also discusses the long term effects of the acidic leakage on the grout curtain and on the integrity of the core.
The risk associated with the flooding during anchor installation and the discovery of a gap formation between the clay core and the concrete spillway wall are also considered.
I A Howley, G S Smith and D J A Stewart
Over the past decade the role of dam ownership in Victoria, and indeed Australia, has changed from one of owners, constructors and operators of large civil assets, to managers of structures on behalf of owners of the entitlements to water. This is part of the key business focus to dams management in Victoria.
This position has been heavily influenced by regional water reform policies, such as the Murray Darling Cap, and its effects in Northern Victoria, and COAG Agreements.
Dam owners now run service driven businesses, with a clear separation of roles and responsibilities from the traditional, engineering focused organisations which were established in an environment of resource development. The environment is now one of maintenance, service delivery, structure maintenance and long term business viability for ultimate community benefit.
By using Goulburn-Murray Water as an example, the current model of dams management in Victoria is outlined, together with possible future directions for the rural water industry in Victoria.
P.I. HILL, R.J. NATHAN, P.E. WEINMANN, J.H. GREEN
The assessment of flood risk is important to the safe design, maintenance and operation of dams. Traditionally, a standards-based approach has been adopted, in which the adequacy of a spillway was assessed by its ability to pass the whole, or a specified fraction, of the Probable Maximum Flood (PMF). More recently, however, the ANCOLD Position Paper on Guidelines for Selection of Acceptable Flood Capacity for Dams has moved towards a risk-based approach, in which attention is focused on establishing the exceedance probability of the maximum flood that can be safely passed by the spillway.
The move to a risk-based approach has led to an increasing focus on the derivation of floods with very low probabilities of exceedance. The chapter in Australian Rainfall and Runoff that gives guidance on the estimation of extreme floods has recently been revised and issued as Book VI. The new guidelines reflect the move from a standards, to a risk based approach and also include recent developments in extreme flood estimation. These recent developments result in an improved estimate of floods in the large to extreme range and hence a more reliable estimate of hydrologic risk.
This paper illustrates the impacts of the new flood guidelines by summarising the results for 7 dams in Southeastern Australia. For the examples presented in this paper the impact of the new guidelines is to reduce the estimated hydrologic risk. The new guidelines have an important effect on the estimation of hydrologic risk and therefore the assessment and management of dams in Australia.
David Dole and Brian Haisman
The Murray-Darling Basin Commission recently created River Murray Water, an internal business unit, as a step towards the micro-economic goals of the COAG Water Reforms.
The assets which regulate the River Murray, have a replacement value around $1.4 billion. They range from the 4000 gigalitre Dartmouth Dam in the headwaters, to the 7.5 kilometres of barrages near the Murray mouth and are presently held in trust for the Contracting Governments of the Basin Initiative by one or other of the three riparian states. River Murray Water is bringing the assets together into a single, integrated business with the aim of securing long-run sustainability, funded through pricing for services provided. Broad institutional and pricing principles are described along with the special challenges of an inter-government environment.
These challenges are being met by adopting clarity and simplicity as driving principles, supported by best practice asset information. The paper describes the upfront development of explicit guiding principles and policies, including risk management and dam safety; coordination of activities; generation of life cycle information; and introduction of contestable service provision for the business.