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.
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Steve Everitt, Ron Fleming, Lelio Mejia
The Electricity Corporation of New Zealand Ltd (ECNZ) is strengthening its Matahina Dam which is an 80 m high, 400 m long rockfill dam impounding a 60 million cubic metre reservoir. The strengthening is to ensure the dam will withstand potential fault displacement within the dam foundation.
ECNZ’s management of the project is described from the design and consents phase through to construction. Key issues are discussed which have contributed to the success of the project such as management structure, the International Review Board, the design process and risk management.
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.
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:
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.
Gary Gibson, Wayne Peck, Ian Landon-Jones and Kumara Arachchi
One of the first seismograph networks designed specifically to record local earthquakes was installed about Sydney in 1958. This network was converted to telemetry in 1983. In 1992, Sydney Water Corporation upgraded the network, integrating the functions of earthquake location and magnitude, measurement of the response of structures to earthquake motion, and provision of information for emergency response. The response function has been developed over the past six years, and is now an “Earthquake Preparation, Alarm and Response” system that provides customised information very soon after any significant event.