Brian Haisman, Clarke Ballard and Neville Garland
In early 1997 the Murray-Darling Basin Ministerial Council instigated a review of the operations of its primary reservoirs, the Hume and Dartmouth Dams, in response to concerns of floodplain communities below the dams, coupled with changing community values in relation to the in-stream environmental effects of dams. The review, completed in May 1999, achieved a consensus between parties advocating what are on the surface irreconcilable objectives for the management of the water resource. Foremost competing objectives were flood mitigation, consumptive water use, and environmental health of the river system, plus subsidiary objectives related to recreation, hydro-electric generation, salinity management, tourism and the like. The keys to success were firstly, creation of a community-based Reference Panel which took on a steering role coupled with extensive consultation, and secondly a determination to describe situations wherever possible by means of factual information. The paper describes the identification and evaluation of issues, the consensus building process, the intensive hydrology and economic modelling undertaken, and the development of a comprehensive set of flow parameters which could be viewed as surrogates for environmental outcomes. Conclusions and recommendations are drawn for future reviews of similar dams.
The Bundaberg Irrigation Area (BIA) is served by a reticulation system of channels, pipelines, pump stations and balancing storages drawing water from a major dam (Fred Haigh on the Kolan River), augmented by a number of weirs and tidal barrages. The scheme as originally proposed in the late 1960’s included a major dam on the Burnett River that has never been built. Accordingly, the reliability of the system was lower than desired, a situation exacerbated by prolonged drought during the 1990’s.
In the 1980s, alternative (cheaper) sources of water supply were investigated and a weir site on the Burnett River (Walla) was selected as the most promising. In 1993, the Commonwealth and Queensland Governments agreed to the Sugar Industry Infrastructure Package (SHP). Walla Weir was included in the Package, subject to environmental and economic assessment.
Detailed impact assessment studies were carried out and submitted to both State and Commonwealth Environment departments. In the light of strong opposition from environmental groups (whose major concern was the Queensland Lungfish), the Federal Minister for the Environment commissioned an independent review of the IAS before granting approval.
Approval was conditional on the implementation of an Environmental Management Plan and a River Operation Plan as well as a commitment to undertake extensive baseline studies before any new development is proposed in the area. This paper will discuss the investigation and approval process and describe the additional monitoring/studies being carried out.
The role of judgement in risk assessments as applied in dam safety management has been the source of considerable debate in recent years. With regard to risk analysis of dams, and while there is general agreement that judgement is an essential element of the process, essentially two schools of thought have emerged. One view holds that, in the assignment of probabilities, reliance can be based on collective engineering judgement that is anchored to a knowledge base. The second view holds that judgement should be based on the knowledge that is revealed by an appropriate amount of analysis. The paper, written from the perspective of the latter view, explores some of the underlying issues in this debate.
The role of judgement in risk evaluation, the process of judging the significance of risk, is considered to be equally important. However, the process of making value judgements and statements of principles is complex and often beyond the sphere of engineering. The third issue addressed in the paper concerns the search for answers to the question, “How good is the assessment?”
S. Knight, B. Cooper and P. van Breda
Warragamba Dam was completed in 1960 and impounds Sydney’s main water supply storage. Hydrological studies in the 1980’s showed the existing spillway to be significantly undersized by modern standards. Considering the dam’s High Incremental Flood Hazard category, the current risk of dambreak is unacceptably high. This has resulted in a two-stage program to upgrade the dam to full Probable Maximum Flood (PMF) capability.
The interim (first stage) measures were completed in 1990 and involved a 5.1 metre raising of the dam crest and significant post-tensioning of the dam wall. Following many feasibility/option studies and detailed technical and environmental studies, a contract was let by Sydney Water Corporation (SWC) in late 1998 for the construction of an auxiliary spillway as the major (second stage) component of the flood security upgrading. The spillway will be a large capacity (about 18,000m*/s) concrete lined chute 700 metres long around the dam’s right abutment. In the upper curved section will be the largest fuse plug embankments in Australia (up to 14.5 metres high). The lower straight section will terminate with a flip bucket structure.
The NSW Department of Public Works and Services (DPWS) designed the earlier Interim Works, undertook the subsequent engineering option studies for the Major Works and carried out the concept design and technical specification for the new auxiliary spillway and associated dam modification works. This paper summarises the project, describes the main features of the concept design of the spillway and outlines the associated dam modifications.
Robert E Saunders
The vast majority of dams in Australia are relatively small affairs. For example, approximately 90% of Queensland’ referable dams are less than 15 m in height. Most of these dams are owned by small communities, mining companies or farmers, many of which have smaller operations than those of Australia’s larger dam owners. In many cases the dam represents the owner’s sole source of water supply.
Many smaller dam owners are unaware of the key factors affecting the safety and best management of their facilities. Added to this is a general lack of understanding of dam related issues by the community at large. This often leads to significant owner and community concerns (and conflicts) that have the potential to jeopardise the viability, or worse, the safety of a project. The relative importance of the dam to the smaller dam owner often exacerbates these issues.
This paper serves to illustrate, by way of example, a consultant’s viewpoint of some of the issues encountered on small dam projects and suggests actions that the dams industry as whole could take to improve the situation.
P. J. N. Pells and M. Hunter
The potential for generating acid leachate from waste dumps is a major consideration in many metalliferous and coal mines. This paper describes the construction of the highest embankment dam in Indonesia for the sole purpose of storing potentially acid producing waste under water. The paper discusses the features of embankment dam design peculiar to an open pit mining environment which involves moving more than three times the total volume of earth and rock than in the whole of the Snowy Mountains Scheme.