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.
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.
M Scuero and Gabriella L Vaschetti
The use of watertight synthetic geomembranes as waterproofing and protection elements for all types of dams started in Europe in the late 1950s and has since been widely applied all over the world as long term repair measure, or as the only element providing watertightness since the design and construction stage.
R J Westmore and P J Cummins
Wartook Reservoir is owned and operated by the Wimmera Mallee Rural Water Authority in western Victoria. The reservoir was constructed in the period 1887 to 1890 on the Mackenzie River within the Grampians National Park. It has a capacity of 29400 ML, is the sole supply of water to the City of Horsham, and also supplies stock, domestic and irrigation water to the Wimmera and Mallee Regions of Victoria.
The embankment is 1100 m long, 12 m high and is constructed of loose to medium density silty fine sands which are susceptible to liquefaction during a seismic event due to the combination of high pore water pressures and low density. Active seepage from the embankment and foundations render the embankment susceptible to failure by piping.
The outlet works were constructed of sandstone masonry and comprise a tower and cut-and- cover conduit buried within the embankment. Inflow of fine sands from the embankment into the masonry tunnel render the embankment susceptible to failure by piping through the joints in the masonry tunnel.
Design concepts for the rehabilitation of the embankment, outlet and spillways have been developed jointly between Wimmera Mallee Water and SMEC Victoria adopting a risk based approach. The design involves partial rehabilitation of the works, providing acceptable levels of risk to the Authority and community, at an economically justifiable cost.
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.
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.