Cairn Curran Dam is a 44m high zoned earthfill embankment located near Bendigo in central
Victoria. The dam is owned and operated by Goulburn-Murray Water.
A risk assessment had identified that the junction between the embankment and spillway wall was a weakness in regard to the potential for piping. Initial geotechnical investigations indicated a softened zone adjacent to the foundation.
The conceptual upgrade design was to excavate the downstream slope and place filter material and a rockfill weighting berm. A 2-D slope stability analysis gave unacceptably low factors of safety for this excavation. The three dimensional nature of the embankment/spillway interface and excavation geometry was identified as an important factor in the upgrade design.
A detailed geotechnical assessment was undertaken and a geotechnical model developed that
accounted for potential softened zones adjacent to the spillway wall, along the foundation, and within the embankment.
A 3-D limit equilibrium slope stability program was utilised to analyse the 3-D factors of safety. The
program employed an extension of Bishop’s method of slices to a 3-D ‘method of columns’. A 3-D
finite element analysis was also undertaken to estimate likely deformations of the embankment and cut slope during construction.
The development of the geotechnical model and subsequent analysis allowed the upgrade works to be undertaken with confidence.
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N.M. Nielsen and L.Casey
An energy and water company spends $8 million on maintenance each year. This work is defined and scheduled through a maintenance management system, part of an enterprise solution that cost the company over $2 million for licence fees, management consulting and installation.
The company has an ageing asset base and has been spending $18 million annually on capital improvements. The work activities are selected to meet safety requirements, enhance reliability, improve plant and upgrade customer service, and are defined, prioritised and scheduled on Word and Excel, which are standard applications on the desks of the company’s engineers and accountants.
This company is a composite (typical) of many in the energy and water business.
The most significant business decisions that owners usually have to make are capital spending commitments to modernise energy and water assets. To be successful, strategies have to be devised to meet the overall strategic objectives of the business, and processes adopted based on a fully functional and integrated asset planning system.
‘Aptus’ is a web-based planning application built specifically for asset intensive businesses. It enables a consistent analytical framework using engineering knowledge and the dam owner’s financial criteria, to provide new perspectives and support strategic planning and decision making with triple bottom line reporting. Aptus is a proven resource to maximize the value of the asset portfolio and sustain the business into the future.
The main iron ore body at Cockatoo Island in the West Kimberleys forms a cliff face plunging steeply into the sea. It was mined by BHP down to low tide level, but the tidal range of 10 metres hampered operations. Being a very pure and sought after ore, various investigations were made to determine methods of extracting the ore below the sea. A coffer dam into the sea was investigated with the conclusion that the soft marine sediments and apparent artesian groundwater in the foundation posed a major risk and high costs.
The mine was sold to a smaller company who proceeded to win useful ore from the island. They also eyed off the undersea ore and approached GHD to use soft ground technology developed for the Derby Tidal Power Project. The soft marine sediments and apparent artesian groundwater conditions were investigated.
The paper describes the design processes involved to achieve dam stability in a space limited by lease boundaries and the desire to maximise the amount of ore that could be accessed. A key to the process was the development of construction techniques and core placement procedures that could cope with the tidal range. Timing aspects were crucial and were controlled by observations of an extensive array of instruments installed for control purposes.
Cold water pollution occurs downstream of many Australian dams when water is released from well below the surface layer of a stratified reservoir during spring and summer. Water temperature can be depressed by 8 °C or more and this may impact negatively upon the survival and growth of native Australian fishes.
After many years in the ‘too hard basket’, mitigation of cold water pollution below dams is receiving increasing attention in Australia. Hume Dam is a case in point. Hume Reservoir, one of the largest irrigation reservoirs in Australia, has a high throughput of water (short residence time) and receives unseasonably cold water from Dartmouth Dam on the Mitta Mitta River and the Snowy Mountains Hydro Scheme on the Murray River.
The maximum possible discharge temperature below Hume Dam may be constrained by geomorphic and climatic features beyond human control. Specifically, the relatively short residence time of water may limit the extent to which it can heat up in the reservoir prior to discharge downstream. Here I present a heat budget for Lake Hume and address the question, “How much can we improve the thermal regime below Hume Dam.”
Assessment of dam safety requires estimates of extreme rainfall together with the temporal and spatial distributions of extreme rainfall. In order to satisfy dam safety requirements for dams in the west coast of Tasmania, the Bureau of Meteorology has developed the method of storm transposition and maximisation for application in this region.
Daily, as well as continuously recorded rainfall data for all Bureau of Meteorology and Hydro Tasmania sites in western Tasmania have been analysed and the most outstanding rainfall events over one, two and three-day durations in the region have been identified. Meteorological analysis of these events reveals that the most significant rainfall events in the west coast of Tasmania are caused by the passage of fronts, which are sometimes associated with an intense extratropical cyclone, with a westerly or southwesterly airstream.
A database of isohyetal analyses of the most significant rainfall events in western Tasmania has been established. These can be used either ‘in situ’ or transposed to estimate mean catchment rainfall. Storm dewpoint temperatures for the purpose of moisture maximisation have been determined.
Cumulative and incremental three-hourly temporal distributions for sites having continuous rainfall data or three-hourly meteorological observations have been constructed and design temporal distributions of extreme rainfall have been derived.
An objective method for adjusting for differences in the topography between the storm and target locations is proposed