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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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: