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.
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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.
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.
Andrew Pattle and Bram Knoop
This paper provides an outline of a process that can be used to optimise regular dam surveillance and monitoring activities. The process is applicable for a wide range of dam types that an owner/operator may be responsible for. Basic assessments are made of inherent reliability and potential consequences of failure using key factors such as construction features, foundation conditions and observed performance. The key factors are combined to give a relative risk ranking for each dam. These rankings are used to determine specific dam monitoring schedules. The process focuses the monitoring effort on those dams that are perceived to constitute the greatest portion of the overall risk. The methodology is simple and provides a cost-effective framework for setting appropriate resourcing levels for dam monitoring.
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.
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”.