As New Zealand’s largest dam owner, ECNZ has actively managed dam safety since its inception in 1987. During this time it has managed several major dam safety issues and enhanced its dam safety management practices. This has occurred in an environment of organisational change and increasingly competitive commercial pressures.
The change in emphasis from a primarily technical emphasis to dam safety towards a commercial focus is described together with details of highly rated dam surveillance system, some continuous improvement initiatives, and recent enhancements to the dam safety programme. The position of responsible ownership in regard to risk and legal requirements is also discussed.
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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.
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.
I A Howley, G S Smith and D J A Stewart
Over the past decade the role of dam ownership in Victoria, and indeed Australia, has changed from one of owners, constructors and operators of large civil assets, to managers of structures on behalf of owners of the entitlements to water. This is part of the key business focus to dams management in Victoria.
This position has been heavily influenced by regional water reform policies, such as the Murray Darling Cap, and its effects in Northern Victoria, and COAG Agreements.
Dam owners now run service driven businesses, with a clear separation of roles and responsibilities from the traditional, engineering focused organisations which were established in an environment of resource development. The environment is now one of maintenance, service delivery, structure maintenance and long term business viability for ultimate community benefit.
By using Goulburn-Murray Water as an example, the current model of dams management in Victoria is outlined, together with possible future directions for the rural water industry in Victoria.
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.
Increasingly, owners of ageing dams are having to reconcile with the notion of involving others in decisions affecting the management of their dams. Previously recognised as ‘expert’ exclusive arenas, doctors, lawyers, scientists and engineers are now expected to respond to enquiring consumers and communities. Individuals and communities are expressing their need to share responsibilities.
Events at Hume Dam provide an illustration of the potential challenges and opportunities that all Dam Owners may face. This paper is a narrative of the processes of involving the wider ‘community’ in the Hume Dam remedial work project. It remains for the stakeholders to rate the effectiveness of the process.