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.
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Tank Hill Reservoir is located approximately 25km north-east of Warrnambool and forms part of the fresh water supply for the town. It was built in the 1930’s by the construction of an earthfill dam across the natural breach of the crater of an extinct volcano. The reservoir is an offline storage with a small natural catchment and has a nominal capacity of 770ML at Full Supply Level (FSL). The reservoir is operated by South West Water Authority (SWWA).
Previous investigations had identified instability issues associated with the dam embankment and the necessity for remedial work to increase the stability of the dam embankment. SKM undertook detailed survey and investigations and the proposed upgrade works include the construction of a downstream stabilising berm incorporating graded filters and a drainage system. The condition of the outlet works was investigated as part of the project, with some of these works found to be in poor condition with a risk to the security of supply, necessitating the design of refurbishment of the outlet works. The degree of siltation of the reservoir was also assessed, and some loss of capacity due to siltation was noted.
Detailed investigations were performed to determine the optimum configuration of the stabilising berm and to locate and test suitable construction materials. The embankment interface filters were designed to satisfy modern filter design criteria and were incorporated in the embankment drainage system. The condition of the outlet works, including the intake standpipe, three offtake valves and the outlet conduit beneath the embankment, were assessed via manual and CCTV inspections. An operation review, incorporating the proposed upgrade works within the framework of ongoing operation of the reservoir for supply to downstream customers was also prepared, as was a construction risk assessment.
This paper will present “extremely useful practical information” for dam design engineers, owners and operators where the whole spectrum of dam safety issues is required for the successful completion of remedial works design and construction.
The main iron ore body at Cockatoo Island in the West Kimberleys forms a cliff face plunging steeply into the sea. It was mined by BHP down to low tide level, but the tidal range of 10 metres hampered operations. Being a very pure and sought after ore, various investigations were made to determine methods of extracting the ore below the sea. A coffer dam into the sea was investigated with the conclusion that the soft marine sediments and apparent artesian groundwater in the foundation posed a major risk and high costs.
The mine was sold to a smaller company who proceeded to win useful ore from the island. They also eyed off the undersea ore and approached GHD to use soft ground technology developed for the Derby Tidal Power Project. The soft marine sediments and apparent artesian groundwater conditions were investigated.
The paper describes the design processes involved to achieve dam stability in a space limited by lease boundaries and the desire to maximise the amount of ore that could be accessed. A key to the process was the development of construction techniques and core placement procedures that could cope with the tidal range. Timing aspects were crucial and were controlled by observations of an extensive array of instruments installed for control purposes.
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.
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.
A. Ahmed-Zeki, G. Roads
South East Queensland Water Corporation (SEQWater) as owner and operator is proceeding with an upgrade of the flood capacity of Wivenhoe Dam. SEQWater has formed an Alliance with Leighton Contractors, Coffey Geosciences, Montgomery Watson Harza (MWH) and the Department of Commerce-NSW (formerly DPWS, NSW) to upgrade Wivenhoe Dam. This paper presents feasibility level investigation and design activities for an upgrade option, comprising a large labyrinth auxiliary spillway at the right abutment of the dam, for supplementing the existing gated spillway in handling the Probable Maximum Flood (PMF) event. This right abutment auxiliary spillway option incorporates Hydroplus type concrete fuse gates. The investigation so far has proved the technical viability of this option, however, ranking along with the other three options against various criteria will lead to the selection of the preferred upgrade option.