2000 – Hume Dam Rehabilitation – An Owner’s Perspective

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.

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