Tony McCormick, John Grimston, Robin Dawson
Project Aqua is a proposed hydroelectric and irrigation resource sharing development on the Lower Waitaki River in New Zealand’s South Island. The NZ $1 billion project aims to deliver approximately 540 MW peak power at an economically viable price, while minimising environmental and social impacts. Application of traditional hydro concepts in historical studies for the same reach has not provided an economic solution. The current proposal challenges conventional thinking in many areas with innovative concepts allowing a significantly lower cost while not sacrificing safety or flexibility.
Development of storage may involve high social and environmental impacts. No significant storage is needed for Project Aqua as the operation of existing upstream dams can be modified to provide for peaking demand and maintenance of minimum flows. The river intake offers innovative features with its very low profile structure. The concept allows a departure from the traditional barrage or dam diversion and maintains an open braid for jet boat and fish passage. This concept has proven to be a major feature in the overall project progression to the current stage.
The largest impact component of the scheme is the eight canals designed to carry 340 cumecs over 63 km through six power stations. Cuts and fills form the canals with locally derived materials used for the embankments and lining. Expensive lining has been minimised by balancing flow exchange with groundwater through the cut and fill sections.
Feasibility design has been completed and resource consents are currently being sought. This paper will cover the significant design features and impacts.
D. J. Dole, D. Dreverman and A. J. McLeod
The Murray-Darling Basin Commission is embarking on an ambitious project directed towards repairing the environmental damage to the River Murray, caused by a century of human intervention. Today the River Murray is one of the more highly regulated rivers in the world, with only a 27% natural annual median flow to the sea.
In April 2002 the Murray-Darling Basin Ministerial Council approved, in–principle, a program of structural works from Dartmouth Dam to the Murray Mouth, including the lower Darling downstream from the Menindee Lakes. The initial phase is estimated to cost $150 million over 7 years. At the same time the Council has authorised studies of the environmental, social and economic impacts of 3 scenarios involving recovery of 350 GL, 750 GL and 1500 GL per year from existing uses, for reallocation to the environment.
This paper describes some of the key projects in the portfolio of works under consideration, including:
The paper also outlines the extensive stakeholder consultation and community engagement processes which are fundamental to the success of the project, as well as the various means adopted to enhance the links between scientists and engineers involved in the project.
J.H. Green, P.E. Weinmann, G.A. Kuczera, R. J. Nathan and E.M. Laurenson
Assigning an Annual Exceedance Probability (AEP) to the Probable Maximum Precipitation (PMP), and subsequently to the PMP Design Flood, is an integral part of the risk assessment process for large dams. Laurenson and Kuczera (1998) conducted a review of existing PMP risk estimation practices in Australia and concluded that, in the absence of any better information, the work by Kennedy and Hart (1984) provided the most appropriate estimates to adopt but with the proviso that the method should be viewed as interim pending the outcomes of ongoing research.
This paper gives an overview of a joint research project that is working towards obtaining credible estimates of exceedance probabilities of extreme rainfalls using the concept of storm arrival probability and storm transposition probability. It also outlines the work to be carried out over the next 12 months that will culminate in the combining of the outcomes of the two components and the application to test catchments. Finally, the paper discusses desirable follow-up action to promote the adoption of the research results by practitioners.
David Brett, Anton van Velden and Phil Soden
The Main Creek Tailings Dam is a 60m high earth and rockfill dam constructed during the early 1980’s to store tailings from the Savage River Mine on Tasmania’s west coast. The dam served the mine well for nearly 20 years, storing around 32 million m3 of tailings, but has required raising due to the expanded mining plans of the current operators, Australian Bulk Minerals (ABM). ABM believe that the mine could require a further 60 million m3 of tailings storage over the next twenty years at increased production levels. This could be stored in the Main Creek Dam by raising it by around 35m. In the medium term this scale of raising would be feasible using waste rock product from ongoing mining but in the short term of several years an interim solution would be required. The feasibility of upstream construction on the tailings beach was reviewed and found feasible for
a maximum 12m in 4 lifts.
Of critical concern were
The paper discusses the investigation and design phases of the dam and describes the issues arising during construction recently completed over the period January to April 2002. The use of pore pressure, shear strength changes and tailings beach movement monitoring to control construction is discussed.
R.M. Dawson, A. Orange
Karapiro dam is the last in a line of hydro-electric dams on the Waikato River, in New Zealand’s North Island. Investigations identified a potential deficiency in parts of the dam under seismic loading. Detailed investigations and analysis narrowed the deficiency to a low strength clay seam under the concrete gravity left abutment structure. An innovative approach was taken to solving the stability problems at minimum cost, without lowering the storage lake, which would have had significant environmental and social impacts. The process of design and construction was overviewed by an international board of review.
Construction was completed in three main stages with further investigation and design refinement between. The main contract was completed over about eight months and included detailed concrete mix and pour schedule design to control stress development due to temperature gradients for the 2000 + cubic metres of mass concrete placed. While the extent of work was relatively small, the quality control, programming, and presence of a full reservoir throughout demanded a high degree of communication and co-operation between the Principal, Designer and Constructor. Despite some surprises during construction, the project was completed within budget and formed strong bonds between all those involved. This paper briefly describes the design process, and focuses on construction, from the point of view of the Owner, Constructor and the Designer.
Pieter van Breda, Alison White, and Greg Carmody
Site works on the $150 million Warragamba Dam Auxiliary Spillway project commenced in March 1999 and were completed in June 2002. Successful interaction with the local community, to achieve an equitable outcome, has been a feature of the communications strategy for the project.
The Auxiliary Spillway is located close to the village of Warragamba, a township of approximately 2,000 residents. The closest residence is about 200 metres from the site. The EIS and subsequent planning documents identified key localised environmental impacts that the project would impose. The main concern of local residents, including a local action group, was the impact on their amenity during construction of the Auxiliary Spillway, particularly in relation to noise, vibration, dust and traffic.
The conditions of approval for the project included a range of communication activities, of which the formation of a Community Liaison Committee (CLC) with an independent Chairperson was a key component. When the membership of the CLC was established the Sydney Catchment Authority (SCA) and chairperson agreed that it needed to fully represent the local community – and therefore included community representatives from Warragamba and two nearby villages, the Chamber of Commerce, the local action group, the local school, local council, the dam owner (SCA) and the project manager (AWT P/L).
The establishment of the CLC has proven to be very successful. It has been the voice of the community, with responsibility to act on behalf of the community and to keep them informed of progress on the project. When issues arose during the construction, the CLC were briefed on the particular matter. The CLC was instrumental in resolving these community issues and has allowed this $150 million civil project to proceed without community attributed delays.