Hydro Tasmania has recently developed a Dam Safety Emergency Plan, which covers 54 referable dams throughout Tasmania. A major contribution was the development of the Pieman River flood warning system. The flood warning system is a computer-based model that forecasts the hydrological situation of the catchment up to 48 hours into the future and alarms the appropriate personnel when a flood event is imminent. The Pieman River catchment experiences some of the highest average annual rainfalls in Tasmania and contains dams in the High Hazard category. The flood warning system was developed using Hydstra Modelling™ (formerly TimeStudio), which links directly to the Hydstra TSM™ database. This package offers powerful automation tools that enable the Pieman River flood warning system to operate, alert personnel and display results on Hydro Tasmania’s internal website with no manual involvement. With its maintenance free operation and user-friendly interfaces, the Pieman River flood warning system is an effective contribution towards the overall risk management package of the Pieman River Power Development
Chi-fai WAN, Robin FELL
This paper presents the findings of experimental investigation of internal erosion by the process of suffusion within embankment dams and their foundations.
Suffusion is the process by which finer soil particles are moved through constrictions between larger soil particles by seepage forces. Soils susceptible to suffusion are usually described as internally unstable. Understanding of the suffusion process is important to the assessment of the risk of internal erosion in an embankment dam and its foundation. Suffusion results in a coarser soil structure, leading to increased seepage, progressive deterioration of the dam or its foundation, and a higher risk of toe instability. Suffusion within the protective filter of a dam may result in a coarser filter, rendering it ineffective in protecting the core materials from erosion.
Two types of suffusion tests, namely the downflow test and the upflow test, have been conducted at the University of New South Wales. The downflow test aims at identifying the types of soils that are susceptible to suffusion, whereas the upflow test aims at identifying the hydraulic gradient at which suffusion is initiated. This paper presents the initial findings of the downflow test. Eighteen downflow tests have been carried out on fourteen clay-silt-sand-gravel soils. The Kenney and Lau (1985, 86) method, which is commonly used for assessing the internal stability of coarse-grained soils, appears to be too conservative when used to predict the internal stability of silt-sand-gravel or clay-silt-sand- gravel soils, whereas the Burenkova (1993) method appears to provide better predictions. Further testing is required to define more accurate criteria for determining the internal stability of broadly-graded clay-silt-sand-gravel soils.
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.
Peter D Amos, Thomas G Newson, Murray D Gillon
In September 2000, pressures being monitored in a geological fracture beneath Arapuni Dam were found to be rising significantly, indicating that a deteriorating condition was developing in the foundation. Two boreholes drilled in 1995 had intersected high water pressures within the fracture in an area close to the downstream face of the dam, posing a risk of major leakage developing from where the fracture day-lighted downstream of the dam. Lumps of clay, bitumen and lake biota, including snails and small fish, were identified discharging from the boreholes, indicating that a significant leakage path had developed. Detailed investigations, the subject of this paper, were carried out from September 2000 to confirm the extent and nature of the deterioration. A range of groundwater investigation techniques and tools were used, while the reservoir remained full, to identify the source of the leak and confirm the path it took. The investigations culminated in development of a groundwater model that described the seepage behaviour in the dam foundation. Based on the investigation information gathered, the foundation fracture bearing the high water pressure was successfully grouted in December 2001 without lowering the reservoir.
Karin Xuereb, Garry Moore and Brian Taylor
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.