A. Swindon, T. Griggs, R. Herweyne and R. Fell
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
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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Hydro Tasmania uses an electronic inclinometer to monitor the face deflections of nine of its CFRDs. The inclinometer is lowered down a steel pipe attached to the upstream face of each dam. The inclinometer was designed and constructed by the University of Tasmania and was first used on Cethana Dam when it was completed in 1972.
The success of its use on Cethana Dam lead to its use for the long term monitoring of eight subsequent CFRDs constructed by Hydro Tasmania.
After 25 years of successful operation some irregular readings of face deflection became apparent. This paper describes the investigation of the irregular readings that had been obtained, the assessment of other methods of observing concrete face deflection, and the refurbishment of the inclinometer using modern electronic components.
David Ho, Karen Boyes, Shane Donohoo and Brian Cooper
Many dam structures in Australia were designed and built in the 1950s and 60s with limited hydrological information. As a result existing spillway structures are under-sized for today’s revised probable maximum floods (PMF). Potential problems such as the generation of excessive negative pressure over spillway crest under increased flood condition could be encountered. This may cause instability or cavitation damage to the spillway. The raised flow profile may also have adverse impacts on crest bridges and gate structures.
Historically, physical models have been constructed in hydraulic laboratories to study these behaviours, but they are expensive, time-consuming and there are many difficulties associated with scaling effects. Today, with the use of high-performance computers and more efficient computational fluid dynamics (CFD) codes, the behaviour of hydraulic structures can be investigated numerically in reasonable time and expense.
This paper describes the two- and three-dimensional CFD modelling of spillway behaviour under rising flood levels. The results have been validated against published data and good agreement was obtained. The technique has been applied to investigate several spillway structures in Australia.
This paper provides an insight into the management of reservoirs under drought conditions within the new water management frameworks established under the Council of Australian Governments (COAG) Water Reforms. Traditional approaches to the sharing of available supplies during drought are no longer appropriate as the roles of the resource regulator, infrastructure operator, and Government have been separated in the interests of providing certainty for water users and the environment. Recent experiences during drought in the Upper Mary River system near Gympie in Queensland has demonstrated the need to ensure the robustness of water sharing rules for reservoirs under the new framework if certainty is to be delivered.
Alan K Parkin
There is a widespread perception among dam engineers that tree root invasion occasions a very serious threat to embankment dams by virtue of its potential to initiate piping failure, with appropriate action invariably recommended. Remedial works can, on occasions, be extensive.
While the principle is ostensibly plausible and scarcely challenged, there has never been, to the Author’s knowledge, a satisfactory investigation to establish any credible scientific basis for it. One case that has attracted some attention in literature (by virtue of the extent of the investigation undertaken), viz a piping accident at Yan Yean Dam, is critically reviewed to show that the accepted view on the role of tree roots in this incident is less than satisfactory. In the course of this review, two physical Laws of Piping are proposed, and applied both to this case and to another nearby Melbourne Water dam that also has a history of piping.
Whilst the consequences of piping in a major dam are such that risk from this source must be kept to a very low level, it is concluded here that piping risk arising from tree root invasion has been considerably overstated and that a more balanced assessment is necessary before determining what, if any, action is required.
Frank L Burns
By 1976 head loss in the 23 km long 750/900 mm diameter CLMS pipeline from Eppalock Reservoir to Bendigo had increased from 45.7 m to 98.2 m (115%) after only 12 years service. The cause was identified as increased friction from soft voluminous iron and manganese bacterial slime building up on the pipe walls and increasing the friction. Inspection of the drained pipes in the dry gave little indication of the problem since the slime consolidated to an innocuous looking thin smooth coating as it dried.
1960 studies by Tyler and Mitchell at the University of Tasmania for the Hydro-Electric Commission had shown that the micro-organisms producing these slime growths were present in all pipelines. However they required the presence of iron and manganese in the water to flourish and produce flow reduction. Remobilisation from oxygen deficient bottom sediments was shown in the 1940’s by Pearsall and Mortimer in England to be a major source of iron and manganese in reservoir water and this could be controlled if sufficient dissolved oxygen could be provided to convert the reducing conditions at the sediments to oxidising conditions.
An experimental aeration system designed by the author was operated in the 180,000 ML Eppalock Reservoir for 19 days during March 1977. This mixed the reservoir to the depth of the aerators (24 m) increasing the low 10% saturation dissolved oxygen at this depth to a high 94% saturation thereby changing chemical conditions from reducing to oxidising. As a result the iron concentration in the surface water decreased from 2.04 mg/L to 0.54 mg/L but there was little change in the pre-aeration 0.03 mg/L manganese concentration with this short period of aeration. The iron concentration in the water flowing in the pipeline changed from 1.78 mg/l to 0.57 mg/l.
The problem of pipe flow reduction from bacterial slime growth on the pipe walls is discussed in this paper and examples are given of the use of automatic reservoir aeration to overcome the problem including costs and results.