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.
Craig Johnson, Phillip Solomon, Nihal Vitharana
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.
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.
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.
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.
David Snape and Brian Simmons
Sydney Catchment Authority (SCA) has been progressively enhancing its asset management capability for dams and other headworks infrastructure since 1999. A key to the development of the integrated asset management system has been the application of asset condition assessment and Failure Modes, Effects and Criticality Analysis (FMECA) across the water supply mechanical and electrical assets. This has provided vital data necessary to:
Asset management features as a key result area within the SCA’s Corporate Business Plan. Integrated asset management is achieved by cascading corporate outcomes, strategies, objectives and responsibilities down through divisional and team work plans to individual staff members. This paper covers a range of issues that have a bearing on the day-to-day integrity of the infrastructure required to deliver bulk raw water to the SCA’s customers.
The management of maintenance at Warragamba Dam is used as an example to demonstrate the effectiveness and practicality of the application of the contemporary asset management system.