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.
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Over the last 30 years, the demand for water storages in Queensland’s Mary’s River has grown significantly. As a result of this growth in demand it was decided to raise Borumba Dam, the major storage on the system, in two stages The first stage was to be approximately 2 metres in I997 and the 25 metre raising be required in about 2010.
Borumba Dam was completed in 1964. It is a 43 metre high concrete faced dam with a 32 metre long on the left abutment. The first proposal for initial raising was to install a two metre high air-inflated rubber dam on top of the existing crest. However, it was determined that this method of raising presented a number of prob and a new solution was sought.
Mark Foster, Robin Fell and Matt Spannagle
This paper describes a method for estimating the probability of failure of embankment dams by piping. The so called “UNSW method” is based on the results of an analysis of historic failures and accidents of embankment dams. An estimate of the probability of failure of a dam by piping is made by adjusting the historical rates of failure by piping by applying weighting factors which take into account the dam zoning; filters; age of the dam; core soil types; compaction; foundation geology; dam performance; and monitoring and surveillance. The method is intended for preliminary assessments only and is ideally suited as a risk ranking method for portfolio type risk assessments to identify which dams to prioritise for more detailed studies and as a check on event tree methods.
Trevor Daniell, David Kemp and Jenny Dickins
Early February 1997 saw the occurrence of heavy rainfalls over a wide area of South Australia’s north. One of the worst hit areas was near Olary, in eastern South Australia, where over a three day period, rainfall totals up to 320 mm were recorded. Within this period, localised, short duration intense rain occurred. In one four hour period on 7 February, about 200 mm fell.
The rain produced floods that washed away large sections of the main Sydney to Perth railway and inundated long sections of the Barrier Highway. Repair costs were of the order of $6 m for the railway and $1.5m for the road. Damage to rural infrastructure in the region was substantial. Flows within the catchment would have been sufficient to wash away most stream gauging stations.
The airmass over much of South Australia was of tropical origin, contained a high amount of moisture and was unstable. Thunderstorms were the main rain producer, consequently the event was characterised by localised, very intense rain episodes. This contrasts with the March 1989 floods, where it rained at a fairly steady rate over large areas for durations up to 24 hours, as a monsoon low tracked across the state.
Analysis of the depth-area relationship for the Olary storm indicates that the relationship to be used for design purposes should be the humid area relationship of Australian Rainfall and Runoff, not the arid area. This is reinforced when it is considered that the 1997 rainfall was localised, not general rain as in 1989.
Investigation of the event indicates that the Olary Creek catchment experienced overland flow, resulting in much higher peak flows than would occur with more frequently occurring “normal” processes. It is possible that any catchment may change its behaviour with extreme rainfall, and produce flows well in excess of those predicted with currently available runoff routing models, or flood frequency analysis of “normal” events.
Raymond A. Stewart
On I7 June 1996 while investigating a small pothole on the crest 183 m high Bennett Dam an unexpected crest collapse occurred resulting in a large sinkhole. Following this incident the safety status of the dam was uncertain. The reservoir was lowered by 2 m over a six week period by spilling up to 5,000 m 3 over the spillway and through the turbines.
An unprecedented dam investigation commenced immediately and was completed December 1996. During drilling a second sinkhole was discovered at another location on the dam.
A sophisticated compaction grouting technique was developed to remediate the sinkholes to the depth of 5 m and the work was successfully completed by 1997. -The reservoir was returned to service in time to collect the freshet in spring 1997. This event was the most dam safety concern in the history of BC Hydro operations.
This paper describes how B.C. Hydro managed the crisis, and the subsequent safety assessment.
D. C. Green
The disaggregation of public water supply bodies in recent years has seen the functions of ownership, design and operation transferred to separate bodies. Consequently , issues of risk management associated with legal liability which previously could be ignored because all risks were absorbed in -house must now be faced and addressed in a more formal way.
This paper looks firstly at the general principles of legal liability for dam performance associated with construction and design, ownership of an existing dam and monitoring of its performance. Liability under several different areas of the law is discussed. Special issues associated with “design and construct” contracts are then highlighted, and warnings are given for project sponsors who control the letting of contracts and the briefing of consultants.