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.
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.
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.
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.”
Garth Barnbaum and Robert Bell
Hydro Tasmania has recently upgraded the control systems for the spillway gates of three of its dams, Clark Dam, Meadowbank Dam and Liapootah Dam. The upgrades followed internal reliability assessments that highlighted high reliance on operator attendance, single points of failure and operational difficulties on each of the three gate systems.
The three gates are of contrasting types. Clark Dam Spillway Gates are submerged orifice type radial gates, operated by wire rope hoists. Meadowbank Crest Gates are flap type gates, held by 10 hydraulic cylinders per gate, a design that has had a difficult operating history. Liapootah is a floating drum gate. The upgrades for each gate therefore required different solutions, albeit within a common basis of design framework. The solutions arrived at are innovative, and meet or exceed worlds best practice.
All three gates are now fully automatic, with PLC control. The use of PLC’s significantly enhances the reliability of the gates. Extensive use is also made of the PLC in monitoring key systems. For example, an impossibly rapid lake level rise detected by one transducer, but not its duplicate, will be alarmed but ignored to avoid unnecessary discharge. All systems incorporate appropriate redundancy. The PLC systems also provide some automatic functional testing functionality and enhance remote alarms and local fault finding.
Mechanical systems were modified to facilitate automation and increase reliability. Stand by power sources used include auto-start diesel genset, DC batteries and a micro hydro generator.
The design and implementation of each of the upgrades was carried out by the Electrical and Mechanical Group of Hydro Tasmania’s Consulting Division, in conjunction with Generation Division’s Project Management Group.
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