The paper outlines the integration of Environmental Risk Management in Goulburn- Murray Water with previous work on Dam Safety, Business and Occupational Health and Safety risks. This has now been followed by the development of an Environmental Management System (EMS) to provide an environmental risk management framework for the whole Authority.
An Environmental Audit in 1997 identified deficiencies in some areas of environmental management and questioned the Authority’s ability to demonstrate due diligence. This led to a decision to develop and implement an EMS based on the International Standard ISO 14001.
Examination of Goulburn-Murray Water activities, associated environmental aspects and impacts, (and the consequences arising), led to the establishment ofan environmental risk register. Analysis and assessment of the risks to produce a ranking Jrom low to very high is described. Refinement to a significant risk register (high and very high risks), and consolidation into a list of generic risks based on major activities, functions and asset categories is described.
Based on this risk profile for the Authority, the Environmental Policy and Objectives were revised, and a methodology for identifying Environmental Targets was developed. Environmental Risk reduction is then delivered through the implementation of target driven Environmental Management Programs (EMPs).
Major system elements described include an emergency response plan, a legal register, an authority / responsibility matrix, a document control system, procedures, forms, training, auditing, and reporting.
The paper describes some of the practical issues encountered and the lessons learned with a focus on the activities of the Headworks Business. A prospective view of implementation and culture change issues is given.
Gary Hargraves, Russ McConnell and John Ruffini
The acceptance of the use of generalised methods for estimating extreme rainfall has resulted in a growth of the Probable Maximum Flood (PMF) estimates that spillways of dams are required to pass. In many cases spillways were not designed with spare capacity and are incapable of safely passing the new PMF estimates. Dealing effectively with the potential for dams to cause damage and loss requires a risk management approach. Such an approach requires more reliable tools for estimation of rainfall. This paper examines the issues, the progress made, and outlines further work and options for clarifying risk.
Kumara Arachchi and Kelvin J Lambkin
Wetlands by their very nature act as storages of pollutants and nutrients in systems subject to environmental stresses. Wingecarribee Swamp acted in this manner and enhanced the quality of catchment runoff flowing into the Wingecarribee Reservoir until the structural failure of early August 1998 in which 6000 megalitres of peat and sedimentary material were moved into the Reservoir. Protection of the Swamp’s functions and values is directly related to Sydney Catchment Authority’s core objectives of protecting the environment and protecting public health by supplying drinking water of acceptable quality. Due to the catastrophic failure, water quality in the reservoir and the ecological integrity of the Swamp have been compromised. The incident has also resulted in significant dam safety issues.
This paper describes the dam safety, catchment management and water quality response to the failure of a major peatland which covered 8% of the catchment of Wingecarribee Reservoir in the Southern Highlands of New South Wales.
Jim Walker, Murray Gillon and John Grimston
Karapiro Dam is at the end of a cascade of hydropower dams on the Waikato River in New Zealand’s North Island. The 52m high, high hazard, arch dam retains the lake for a 96MW power station at its downstream toe. Safety reviews recommended a re-evaluation of the dam stability under seismic loading.
Dam owner, Electricity Corporation of New Zealand (ECNZ), commissioned consultants Tonkin & Taylor Ltd to carry out a series of studies and investigations which provided better understanding of the dam’s safety status. Investigations located a previously unrecorded continuous low strength thrust fault underlying the left abutment. This provided the potential for movement of the left abutment gravity blocks under earthquake loading, with adverse effects on arch dam and reservoir safety. Investigations showed the abutment cut off walls to be lower than the PMF lake level. High groundwater levels and erodible pumiceous soils were found at the left abutment. These findings prompted ECNZ to implement stability enhancement works.
This paper describes the studies and investigations, peer review process, and design and construction of enhancement works.
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.
ANCOLD Environmental Guidelines have been under preparation for a considerable time. A brief for their preparation followed a resolution by the ANCOLD executive in 1991] that:
“ANCOLD should be seen by the profession and the community as a credible and informed source of information on the risks and benefits associated with dam projects.”
Why the guidelines were initiated, why they have taken the time they have to prepare and what they cover are described in this paper.
To the author’s knowledge, they are the only guidelines of their type, addressing the environmental effects of dams and associated works. It is hoped that they generate substantive debate. This paper initiates the public comments phase.
The paper has two purposes:
° = To introduce the guidelines ° To use the guidelines to introduce this environmental issues session of this conference