John Grimston, Robin Dawson, Maurice Fraser
Water supply for irrigation of horticulture and agriculture in New Zealand has gained considerable momentum since the mid 1990’s. The rapid growth of the wine industry in areas such as Marlborough (located at the top of the South Island) and dairy conversions in many areas of South Canterbury are prime examples of the pressure being applied to existing water supplies and sources and the increasing need for new irrigation supplies and security of supply.
The larger irrigation projects of the past were implemented by the government – schemes such as the Rangitata Diversion race and the Lower Waitaki irrigation project both on the east coast of the South Island. The 1990’s and early 2000’s has seen a largely hands off government approach to potential irrigation projects with the shift towards leaving it to market forces to build irrigation schemes. The result has been that due to significant larger project risks and capital cost requirements with often multi party stakeholder groups, only relatively small schemes have been implemented – the Waimakariri irrigation scheme and Opuha irrigation dam are a few examples. However, in recent years with the value of water increasing several significant irrigation projects promoted by private enterprise or progressive district councils with farmer groups are being investigated and a few may be close to implementation.
The recent drought conditions have focussed attention on the need for storages to maintain security of supply and, together with the balance with sustainability, the consenting environment in New Zealand and existing river/aquifer allocations, significant challenges to development are presented.
Specific case examples include the proposed Delta dam near Blenheim being developed by a private group of irrigators and the Bankhouse development being implemented by a private owner in the same Marlborough region.
This paper provides a background to irrigation in the South Island and describes these two proposed schemes and associated storage dams, together with an insight into the key issues related to the proposed projects.
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The Bureau of Meteorology has recently revised the Probable Maximum Precipitation (PMP) estimates for the Generalised Tropical Storm Method (GTSM) region of Australia. The revision process has involved the application of the more technically rigorous Generalised Southeast Australia Method (GSAM) that was previously developed for the southern part of Australia to a much larger data set of severe tropical storms. This has generally lead to an increase in the total GTSM PMP depths with a resultant increase in the Probable Maximum Precipitation Design Flood (PMPDF) and the Probable Maximum Flood (PMF).
In addition, the revision process has produced significant modifications to the temporal and spatial patterns adopted when applying the PMP depths to a dam’s catchment and these changes have also generally lead to increases in the resultant floods.
This paper discusses the rationale behind the increases in PMP depths and changes in the associated temporal and spatial patterns and presents the justification for the adoption of these more scientifically defensible estimates.
The application of the revised PMP estimates to the Keepit Dam catchment in northern NSW is presented and a comparison between the PMPDF and PMF estimates based on the original GTSM and the revised GTSM (GTSMR) made for this specific case study.
Bellfield dam is a 78,500 ML drought reserve storage for the Wimmera-Mallee Stock and Domestic System. The 800m long by 57m high zoned earth and rockfill dam is located on Fyans Creek upstream of the Grampians tourist town of Halls Gap in north western Victoria. The dam was built in the period 1963-67. Later in 2002-03 as part of a flood security upgrading (FSU) program, had its rock chute spillway deepened by 3.4m and its embankment crest raised by 1.9m to withstand a PMF.
To manage the FSU’s likely construction constraints and risks, Wimmera Mallee Water’s Headworks Group successfully undertook the upgrading by a mix of schedule of rates contracts and direct management.
This paper complements a companion paper by WMW’s design consultants, URS and describes why and how direct management was used, plus unconventional aspects of spillway deepening and the raising of a narrow dam crest with earthworks and a pre-cast parapet wall.
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.
A survey of spillway gate systems and operations has recently been completed by dam organisations in Nth America, Australia and New Zealand. The survey sought to identify typical arrangements for spillway gate systems and common features pertaining to reliability such as system redundancy, actuation methods and back-up systems, gate and hoist types, remote and local operation, gate testing programmes, and human factors.
Sixteen organizations responded, covering sixty two dams and nearly four hundred gates. This Paper reports on the preliminary analysis of the data, providing an overview of the industries’ approach to spillway gate operation and control.
N. Vitharana, A. Gower, G. Bell and N. Petrovic
Churchman Brook Dam is a 26m high earthfill dam with a puddle clay core and impounds a reservoir of 2.2GL. Various remedial works have been undertaken since completion of construction in 1928. In September 2000, a sinkhole in the right abutment was observed during a routine dam inspection. Following this incident, detailed site investigations were carried out. These investigations revealed that there are soft zones and possibly voids formed in the upper part of the clay core.
A comprehensive dam safety study and a risk workshop undertaken in 2002/2003 showed the dam to be deficient in aspects associated with piping, spillway adequacy and outlet works condition. A rational geotechnical model was developed for the foundation utilising triaxial test data from 1980s and recent investigations. The existing spillway chute will be upgraded with a concrete liner attached to the existing chute incorporating no-fine concrete as a free-draining medium. This paper presents the various aspects of the remedial works currently being designed.