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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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
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.
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.
Gregg Barker B.E. (Hons.) GradIEAust
Dam safety emergency plans (DSEPs) are typically produced for individual dams. For owners of a large portfolio of dams, this approach creates document control difficulties, requires excessive time and effort and can lead to confusion when a single emergency affects multiple dams having individual DSEPs. Hydro Tasmania has developed a single DSEP which is applicable to its portfolio of 54 referable dams. The DSEP contains generic emergency response procedures, is applicable to a whole range of generic dam safety incidents, uses a simple colour-coded flowchart-action list format, has a two-stage emergency response, retains all necessary dam-specific information and can be easily adapted to any organisational structure. This approach was found to have benefits in document control, flexibility in the management of the emergency response and short lead time in terms of having DSEPs which cover an entire portfolio of dams.
Lake Bellfield is a reserve storage for the Wimmera Mallee Water (WMW) Stock and Domestic System in North Western Victoria, constructed between 1963 and 1967. The dam is located on Fyans Creek approximately 3 km upstream from Halls Gap in an area of high tourist value and is rated in the Extreme category under ANCOLD guidelines. The dam consists of an earth and rockfill embankment 745 m long with a maximum height of 57 metres and retains a reservoir with a storage capacity of 78,500 ML.
Previous studies and a subsequent physical model study confirmed that the existing spillway does not meet the requirements of the current ANCOLD guidelines. The current flood capacity is approximately 40% of the Probable Maximum Flood. A range of potential upgrade options to pass the PMF were evaluated with a 1.9 metre composite earthfill and downstream concrete parapet wall raise in combination with spillway lowering of 3.4 metres selected. Construction of this option was completed in early 2003.
This paper describes the key features of the investigation and design including:
• a physical model study,
• evaluation of various options based on technical, financial, environmental and social criteria,
• design of the earthfill-parapet raise in the limited area available on the crest to provide full filter protection, acceptable short and long term deformations and adequate long term access to the dam and its associated structures, and
• design of the spillway cut including excavation and stabilisation in the very strong and abrasive Grampians Sandstone.