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.
J. H. Green and P. I. Hill
Early Probable Maximum Flood (PMF) studies and spillway adequacy assessments for Hume Dam adopted the standards based approach of the time. Since then considerable work and thought has gone into the estimation of extreme floods – both the philosophy and the practice. These changes include the general change in emphasis away from a standards based approach and towards risk assessment; the move towards an AEP-neutral approach for the transformation of extreme rainfalls to extreme floods; and the redefinition of both the PMP and the PMF.
This paper details the effect these and other changes to extreme flood estimation techniques have had on the perceived adequacy of the Hume Dam spillway to pass extreme floods.
D.N.D. Hartford and R.A. Stewart
It seems perfectly logical, obviously desirable and apparently sensible to prioritise dam safety reviews, deficiency investigations and capitalised remediation projects in terms of risk. However, our experience in attempting to apply the various deterministic and risk- based approaches in prioritising dam safety activities has revealed that, while it may appear to be quite logical and desirable to prioritise in terms of risk, it is rather less feasible than it appears.
This paper explores why different prioritisation processes can lead to different priority rankings across the same portfolio of dams. B.C. Hydro’s Preliminary Risk Exposure Profile process, which utilises the best and most robust attributes of risk analysis process at the preliminary level but avoids the pitfalls associated with estimating risks which will often have little or even no basis is presented. The paper explains how this process provides a “fail-safe” backup which will identify non-conservative and erroneous facility risk estimates; thereby allowing for correction in a timely fashion. The paper also raises some awkward philosophical issues which the profession will have to address in order to permit confident dam safety decision-making on the basis of risk analyses. Not the least of these is the following issue – “If preliminary estimates of risk are reasonably good, then there should be little need for more detailed risk analysis for confident and defensible decisions concerning making or not making dam safety improvements”.
Richard I Herweynen
For concrete gravity dams, when the foundation’s value of cohesion is low, it is very difficult to meet the sliding criteria proposed by ANCOLD. Low cohesion is generally associated with serious foundation defects. This was the case for Meadowbank Dam, with a foundation having persistent horizontal seams containing material of a clayey silt size classification. By adopting the ANCOLD strength reduction factors, it was found that a large number of ground anchors would be required to meet the ANCOLD sliding criteria. During original design, extensive laboratory and insitu testing was performed on the seam material. This paper proposes a methodology for arriving at less severe strength reduction factors based upon a statistical analysis of the strength parameters measured in the Meadowbank Dam foundation.
Additionally, a probabilistic approach using a Monte Carlo simulation is used to give further weight to this argument. This paper concludes that the probability of Meadowbank Dam failing due to sliding is very low and within acceptable limits.
Leonard A McDonald and Chi Fai Wan
A risk assessment has been undertaken as part of a comprehensive review of the safety of Hume Dam. Use of risk assessment techniques, to assist in evaluating the safety of existing dams, is a relatively recent trend. Hume Dam was a particularly challenging subject for the application of risk assessment techniques at their present stage of development. The challenge lay in the number and diversity of dam elements to be analysed, in the number and complexity of the potential failure modes and in the fact that there were significant safety issues under normal operating conditions.
This paper outlines some of the key lessons learned from that phase of the risk assessment that was concerned with estimating the chance of dam failure. Some of the issues discussed have not previously been addressed in the literature and some demonstrate a clear need for improved analysis procedures.
David Watson and John Adem
For several years risk management has been promoted by the Victorian Department of Natural Resources and Environment – Water Agencies as the key mechanism for the effective and efficient business management of dams. As part of an extensive water reform program, the Victorian Government announced in October 1997, a financial assistance package for the water industry which included funding for dam improvements covering a majority of large dam owners in the State. One of the conditions for receipt of these improvement funds was the need for each water authority to undertake a Business Risk Assessment of all significant and high hazard dams under its responsibility.
This paper discusses the Business Risk Assessment document based on a framework developed by Water Agencies after consultation with the industry and expands on the following reasons why the document was produced: