Pieter van Breda, Peter Walton, Kate Lenertz and Tim Sheridan
The Warragamba Dam Auxiliary Spillway Project, designed to manage floodwaters up to a Probable Maximum Flood event, was approved by the NSW Minister for Urban Affairs and Planning on February 12, 1998. An Environmental Impact Statement prepared for this project predicted that noise, dust (suspended and deposited), blasting, vibration, water quality and revegetation would be the significant environmental issues requiring management throughout the construction phase.
The closest residents are approximately 200m from the construction activity. The works must not interfere with the operation of the Dam, which stores 80% of Sydney’s drinking water and the integrity of the existing infrastructure must be maintained at all times. The approved proposal was to emplace the 2.2Mm3 of spoil excavated to create the spillway in an area 25 ha by 20m high on top of a ridge on the left bank adjoining the Blue Mountains National Park. This created visual impact and rehabilitation challenges.
Although the contract for this project was primarily performance based, strict environmental clauses were incorporated to manage these priority issues. Noise and dust modelling were required from each pre-qualified Tenderer, to demonstrate capability of compliance with NSW Environment Protection Authority requirements. This formed part of the tender assessment. Criteria were also developed for revegetation, specifying numbers of endemic trees, shrubs and grasses per 400m2 of spoil emplacement in order to create a floral community similar to the existing adjacent National Park.
The implementation of these requirements and the development of a site Environmental Management Plan by the Sydney Catchment Authority, Australian Water Technologies and Abigroup Contractors, whilst maintaining productivity, has proven to be a working example of the benefits of Partnering.
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The entire historical record of rainfall archives held by the Bureau of Meteorology over the region of Australia affected by tropical storms has been examined and the extreme storms have been extracted. From this database, we account for site specific effects (moisture and topography) from each of the storms, allowing us to compare storms amongst each other. This then allows us to construct a theoretical maximum precipitation in a generalised sense. By then returning the site specific information for a particular region, we can infer the probable maximum precipitation at this location.
Failure modes and effects analysis (FMEA) has been increasingly utilised to prioritise and investigate dam safety deficiencies. It can be used to enhance dam safety programmes. Dam Surveillance, O & M procedures, and emergency plans can all be evaluated for their effectiveness in detecting and mitigating the applicable failure modes for a dam. Experience with a workshop process to carry out this evaluation and some of the improvements that have been identified are described.
I. R. Forster
Lyell Dam is a concrete-faced rockfill dam, located on the Coxs River, near Lithgow, NSW. The dam forms part of the Coxs River Water Supply Scheme, which supplies water to Delta Electricity’s Wallerawang and Mount Piper Power Stations. In 1994, the spillway capacity of the dam was upgraded, and the storage augmented with the addition of two 40 m long by 3.5 m high inflatable rubber dams to the spillway crest. An automatic deflation system, controlled by a programmable logic controller, was installed to provide a staged bag deflation sequence during flooding, and hence minimise the downstream impact of rubber dam operation.
Although the rubber dams and control system initially operated as designed, more recently, two uncontrolled bag deflations have occurred, which have caused flooding downstream and loss of significant storage volumes. In the first incident, a spontaneous uncontrolled deflation of the rubber dams released about 1600 ML, before the bags re-inflated automatically. An investigation revealed that the incident was most likely the result of design deficiencies in the control system. Recommendations were made for improvements to the system.
During the most recent deflation, one of the rubber dams failed by spontaneous rupture, and approximately 6000 ML of water was released from the dam. The Dam Safety Emergency Plan was activated to ensure persons at risk downstream were notified of the impending flood wave. A post- failure inspection of the ruptured bag suggested that the likely cause of failure was a manufacturing defect, which allowed air to penetrate the layers of rubber forming the bag. The rupture most likely occurred when the resulting air pocket expanded on exposure to the sun.
The paper examines the two deflation incidents in detail, and analyses the emergency response to the second incident.
Mark Locke, Buddhima Indraratna, Phillip Cummins and Gamini Adikari
ABSTRACT: Australia has a large number of older embankment dams, which have been in service and performed adequately for over 50 years. However, current industry practice in embankment dam design predicts that the granular filters within these dams may not be adequate. This may require refurbishment of the dam by retro-fitting a new filter to ensure the continued safety of the structure. This paper outlines the potential problems with older embankment dam designs, and the reasons for constructing a new filter. Potential problems may include inadequate or non-existent filters, risk of failure due to earthquake, piping, or excessive foundation seepage. Design methods for granular filters are described briefly, concentrating on whether an existing filter is adequate, and the potential improvement by constructing a new filter. Construction issues for placing filters on existing dams are also discussed.
A new analytical method, developed to describe the time dependent erosion and filtration within embankment dams, is described briefly. The model predicts particle erosion, transport and retention based on fundamental fluid mechanics and geotechnical concepts. The application of this model to the design of filters for new and existing dams will be described. The predictions of such analytical modelling can give a designer a significantly clearer picture of the purpose of a granular filter, the extent of core erosion that can be expected, and the effect of retrofitting a new filter to an existing dam.
David Dole and Brian Haisman
The $75 million remedial works at Hume Dam on the Murray River near Albury have been of national significance. The rehabilitation program associated with the structure itself and with its appurtenant works is now in the final steps of construction. The authors summarise this program with an emphasis not on technical details, but on decision processes. Equity in this dam is, in effect, held in equal parts by three State governments and by the Commonwealth government. At the same time, in response to the national water reform agenda, the governments have agreed upon new cost sharing arrangements that more nearly reflect the value of services to each government. The particular problems of decision-making within this evolving inter-State environment are discussed.
Lessons from experiments with application of risk analysis are discussed. Finally, the matter of adequacy of the structure for extreme floods is still under consideration. Hume Dam will presently pass the Design Flood developed in accord with Book VI (1999) of Australian Rainfall and Runoff, and the Dam Crest Flood has been estimated to have an annual exceedance probability of 1:110,000. _ Retrofitting a spillway to pass the estimated Probable Maximum Flood will double the cost of remedial works and is estimated at 10 times the cost of similar capacity built into original construction. The authors discuss the public policy elements of this pending decision.