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.
This paper presents the findings of experimental investigation of internal erosion by the process of suffusion within embankment dams and their foundations.
Suffusion is the process by which finer soil particles are moved through constrictions between larger soil particles by seepage forces. Soils susceptible to suffusion are usually described as internally unstable. Understanding of the suffusion process is important to the assessment of the risk of internal erosion in an embankment dam and its foundation. Suffusion results in a coarser soil structure, leading to increased seepage, progressive deterioration of the dam or its foundation, and a higher risk of toe instability. Suffusion within the protective filter of a dam may result in a coarser filter, rendering it ineffective in protecting the core materials from erosion.
Two types of suffusion tests, namely the downflow test and the upflow test, have been conducted at the University of New South Wales. The downflow test aims at identifying the types of soils that are susceptible to suffusion, whereas the upflow test aims at identifying the hydraulic gradient at which suffusion is initiated. This paper presents the initial findings of the downflow test. Eighteen downflow tests have been carried out on fourteen clay-silt-sand-gravel soils. The Kenney and Lau (1985, 86) method, which is commonly used for assessing the internal stability of coarse-grained soils, appears to be too conservative when used to predict the internal stability of silt-sand-gravel or clay-silt-sand- gravel soils, whereas the Burenkova (1993) method appears to provide better predictions. Further testing is required to define more accurate criteria for determining the internal stability of broadly-graded clay-silt-sand-gravel soils.
N.M. Nielsen and L.Casey
An energy and water company spends $8 million on maintenance each year. This work is defined and scheduled through a maintenance management system, part of an enterprise solution that cost the company over $2 million for licence fees, management consulting and installation.
The company has an ageing asset base and has been spending $18 million annually on capital improvements. The work activities are selected to meet safety requirements, enhance reliability, improve plant and upgrade customer service, and are defined, prioritised and scheduled on Word and Excel, which are standard applications on the desks of the company’s engineers and accountants.
This company is a composite (typical) of many in the energy and water business.
The most significant business decisions that owners usually have to make are capital spending commitments to modernise energy and water assets. To be successful, strategies have to be devised to meet the overall strategic objectives of the business, and processes adopted based on a fully functional and integrated asset planning system.
‘Aptus’ is a web-based planning application built specifically for asset intensive businesses. It enables a consistent analytical framework using engineering knowledge and the dam owner’s financial criteria, to provide new perspectives and support strategic planning and decision making with triple bottom line reporting. Aptus is a proven resource to maximize the value of the asset portfolio and sustain the business into the future.
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.
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.
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