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.
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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.
Keywords: Drill and blast, pre-cast parapet wall, narrow embankment crest, direct management, construction.
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.
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.
Arthur Yapa, Tom Bowling and Peter Watt
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.
There are many important dams and other structures on catchments smaller than 1000 km² with response times less than 24 hours, however these catchments have been largely overlooked in previous research into large and extreme floods. This paper is an initial step in “catching up” design practice for short duration rainfall events to the current best practice that is available for estimation of floods from rainfall events with durations of 24 hours and greater.
Two issues are specifically addressed in this paper. Firstly, a regional analysis of short duration rainfall depths is conducted to extend the frequency curve beyond an AEP of 1 in 100. Rainfall frequency curves are estimated for durations between 0.5 and 12 hours, using data from ten pluviograph sites around Australia. Secondly, sets of temporal patterns are derived that could be useful in joint probability analysis of short duration rainfall events. The effects of these new rainfall depths and temporal patterns on flood frequency curves are tested by applying them to rainfall-runoff routing models for three dams with small catchment areas.