Dr Bradford Sherman, Dr Phillip Ford, Allison Mitchell, Gary Hancock
Recent reports from the World Commission on Dams have highlighted the relative lack of knowledge regarding the release of greenhouse gases (GHGs) from reservoirs. In order to be considered eligible to receive carbon credits in the future, hydropower facilities probably will be assessed using some sort of life cycle analysis of net GHG emissions.
Unfortunately, empirical data regarding GHG emissions is available only for a few reservoirs none of which are located in temperate or semi-arid climates.
We report preliminary observations on the vertical distributions of methane and carbon dioxide in Chaffey Reservoir (Tamworth, NSW) and Dartmouth Reservoir, two temperate zone reservoirs located in southeastern Australia. In Chaffey, the diffusive methane flux from the hypolimnion to the epilimnion (where it is oxidised by bacteria) was estimated to be 220-1760 mg-CH, m’ d’. Operation of a destratification system released 43 t of CH, to the atmosphere in 3 days. The carbon dioxide flux to the atmosphere via the surface of Dartmouth was 21-168 mg-CO, m’ d’, and 530 mg-CO, m° d’ through the turbine. The impact on GHG emissions of common reservoir management techniques such as destratification and hypolimnetic oxygenation is discussed.
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G. A. Pickens, J. O. Grimston
The Opuha Dam Project is a multipurpose water resources development, for irrigation and other uses. The 50 m high irrigation dam incorporates a 7.3 MW hydro installation, enhances summer low flows downstream, increases potable water supply security, is a significant recreational facility and provides flood attenuation. Opuha Dam was the first large dam permitted under NZ’ s Resource Management Act, for which sustainability is the cornerstone. It was also built under a design-build contract arrangement. Although breached by a flood during construction, the dam was successfully completed and performance has met or exceeded expectations. Experiences of potential value to future developments are outlined including the positive features of design- build. Technical features which contributed to the cost-effectiveness and performance of the project, are described, including downstream reregulation to enable “on-off’ peak hydro operation, Obermeyer type spillway gates to maximise flow capture for hydro and a stepped service spillway.
The Forth River dams consisting of Cethana (110m), Devils Gate (84m) and Paloona (43m), were constructed between 1964 – 1971. The Population at Risk (PAR) downstream of this cascade system is significant in the event of hypothetical dam failure.
By 1990 a Generalised Method had been fully developed for estimating extreme rainfalls for South East Australia. Using these extreme rainfall estimates, flood estimates were updated for all dams owned by Hydro Tasmania. These estimates indicated that the spillway capacity of the three Forth River dams no longer complied with current practice.
The risk position of these Forth River dams did not comply with the ANCOLD risk based criteria, indicating that some level of upgrade should be considered to reduce the risk associated with flooding. Given the risk position, considerable priority was placed on resolving this issue.
Due to physical constraints within the Cethana Dam site area, it was difficult to upgrade to a “Standards Based” level of upgrade without very high expenditure and imposing additional risk arising from major dam modifications. Instead the ALARP (As Low As Reasonably Practicable) principle was adopted to determine an appropriate level of upgrade, which did not preclude upgrading to a higher standard, should this be necessary at some time in the future.
The spillway upgrade for the three Forth River dams was approved in 1999 and detailed design has commenced with completion of construction planned for 2003. This paper will include discussions on the decision making process, communicating complex dam safety issues to senior management and some interesting details of the design.
Neil Gillespie, Chris Hansen
With the introduction of the Resource Management Act in 1991, two significant changes have meant a complete review has been necessary of the planning provisions for hydro generation facilities in plans prepared under the new legislation.
Firstly, the Resource Management Act 1991 introduced an ‘effects’ based approach to planning, as opposed to an ‘activity’ based approach that existed under the previous Town & Country Planning Act 1977. Secondly, the planning mechanisms available to hydro generators to provide for their facilities changed.
Contact Energy Ltd (Contact) is a significant hydropower generator based in Central Otago. The new Regional and District Plans prepared under the Resource Management Act 1991 now contain provisions controlling activities previously provided for by way of a designation. Contact has invested considerable time and effort into the plan preparation process to ensure their activities are not unduly restricted by the new plans.
This conference paper provides an overview of the changes to the planning associated with hydropower generation facilities, and Contact’ s experience in the plan preparation process.
The report of the World Commission on Dams (WCD), issued in November 2000 was the result of a world-wide study of the development and effectiveness of dams. This paper describes a parallel but much smaller study, specifically relevant to the Asia-Pacific Region, carried out simultaneously for the Asian Development Bank (ADB) by a multi-disciplinary consortium of consulting organisations, whose work was reviewed by an Advisory Panel. This study comprised an analysis of performance compared with design expectations in case studies of four dams spread across the Region and constructed at different times between 1970 and 1999, supplemented by a literature survey. Although the case studies were conducted independently of WCD and to different Terms of Reference, they used similar methodologies, and the results were submitted to WCD to increase their knowledge base. The ADB study’ s recommendations take a somewhat different form to those of the WCD, but there is no conflict between the recommendations of the two studies.
Jenny Stewart, Murray Gillon
This paper describes decommissioning studies carried out as part of a dam safety improvement project by Coliban Water. The project results from a Portfolio Risk Assessment of 20 referable dams and the selection of 10 dams for safety improvements. Due to future water supply commitments and possible alternative supplies, eight of the reservoirs were subject to a decommissioning analysis as part of the dam safety options studied. The decommissioning studies included alternative uses, flora and fauna and other environmental issues, and European and aboriginal heritage studies.
As a result of the studies, five of the reservoirs will no longer be required for water supply. Two will be upgraded and handed over to others to manage as recreation sites and one will be decommissioned. Two are still being considered for either decommissioning or hand-over to others at a reduced capacity for habitat and heritage benefits.