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.
Cold water pollution occurs downstream of many Australian dams when water is released from well below the surface layer of a stratified reservoir during spring and summer. Water temperature can be depressed by 8 °C or more and this may impact negatively upon the survival and growth of native Australian fishes.
After many years in the ‘too hard basket’, mitigation of cold water pollution below dams is receiving increasing attention in Australia. Hume Dam is a case in point. Hume Reservoir, one of the largest irrigation reservoirs in Australia, has a high throughput of water (short residence time) and receives unseasonably cold water from Dartmouth Dam on the Mitta Mitta River and the Snowy Mountains Hydro Scheme on the Murray River.
The maximum possible discharge temperature below Hume Dam may be constrained by geomorphic and climatic features beyond human control. Specifically, the relatively short residence time of water may limit the extent to which it can heat up in the reservoir prior to discharge downstream. Here I present a heat budget for Lake Hume and address the question, “How much can we improve the thermal regime below Hume Dam.”
Tony Qiu and Brian A. Forbes
The RCC design review and construction supervision of the 60m high Tannur Dam in Jordan was carried out by GHD, Australia.
The 220,000m3 of RCC was placed during February-December 2000; change to the sloped layer method was made once the dam reached 15m height. It produced a 50% increase in placing rate and a considerable saving in costs.
The use of the method is the first known use outside of China, where it was developed during the construction of the 130m high Jiangya Dam in 1997-8. The sloping of the 300mm thick layers of RCC across the dam from bank to bank at grades between 5-8% ensures subsequent layers of RCC can be placed within the initial set time of the lower layer and hence the RCC is monolithic across the lift joint.
This paper briefly describes the project in Jordan and then gives specific details of the use of the sloped layer method. Typical results from the quality control testing during placement and subsequent coring and testing of the lift joints are also provided. The benefits of its use in adverse climatic conditions, such as extreme heat or rainfall and the ways it can be integrated with forming the upstream-downstream slope are also discussed.
The sloped layer method is a significant advancement, particularly for large structures, where lift joint cohesion, tensile resistance and RCC placing rates are vitally important.
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
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.
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.