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.
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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.
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.
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.
David S. Bowles, Andrew M. Parsons, Loren R. Anderson and Terry F. Glover
This paper summarises the Portfolio Risk Assessment (PRA) process that was implemented for SA Water’s 17 large dams, the information obtained from the PRA, and its use by SA Water. The PRA was designed to provide a baseline assessment of the existing dams and an initial prioritisation of future investigations and possible risk reduction measures. The PRA comprised a reconnaissance-level engineering assessment and risk assessment. These assessments were performed for floods, earthquakes, and static loading. Various structural and non-structural risk reduction measures were developed and evaluated. Information from the PRA can be used to provide inputs to capital budgeting, due diligence and liability evaluations, contingency planning and business criticality assessment, evaluation of loss financing and insurance programs, and a firm basis for monitoring and surveillance, operations and maintenance, and emergency preparedness planning.
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.