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.
N. Vitharana, P. Mendis, G. Kusuma and T. Ngo
In 1998, ANCOLD Guidelines entitled “Guidelines for Design of Dams for Earthquake” was issued. The Guideline mainly deals with the seismic aspects of dams and only a basic reference is made to the seismic assessment of intake towers in Section 8.3. Although the much needed and pioneering step taken to introduce this Guideline is to be appreciated and it has covered the seismic aspects of dams, some confusion does exist amongst dam / structural engineers in assessing the seismic performance of concrete intake towers. This is mainly due to the fact the behaviour of reinforced concrete intakes towers is quite different from that of earth or concrete gravity dams. This confusion could potentially lead to gross overestimate of the inertia loads on concrete intake towers resulting in unnecessary expenditure in investigation and remedial works.
The energy dissipation due to inelastic hysteresis behaviour of concrete members results in a great reduction in the inertia loads compared with those calculated with traditional “elastic” analysis methods. This consequently results in significant reductions in bending moments and shear forces on the tower and its foundation. It is very important to understand the basic behaviour of reinforced concrete, considering the composite action of concrete, longitudinal & hoop reinforcing steel, before embarking in sophisticated dynamic analysis the outputs of which are highly dependent on the input parameters.
The authors have developed a methodology in which the hysteresis energy dissipation due to the inelastic behaviour of concrete intake towers is considered. Various criteria were defined for serviceability and ultimate failure modes such as excessive deflection, spalling of concrete, buckling of reinforcing steel. The confinement effect of hoop steel on the core concrete is also considered.
This paper will present the fundamental aspects of seismic behaviour of reinforced concrete structures with practical cases as applied to intake towers. The results showed that the current methods adopted by various Dam Authorities in Australia are cursory and the energy dissipation aspect should be considered, in conjunction with expert advice, before undertaking any remedial works.
A. Swindon, T. Griggs, R. Herweyne and R. Fell
Cairn Curran Dam is a 44m high zoned earthfill embankment located near Bendigo in central
Victoria. The dam is owned and operated by Goulburn-Murray Water.
A risk assessment had identified that the junction between the embankment and spillway wall was a
weakness in regard to the potential for piping. Initial geotechnical investigations indicated a softened
zone adjacent to the foundation.
The conceptual upgrade design was to excavate the downstream slope and place filter material and a rockfill weighting berm. A 2-D slope stability analysis gave unacceptably low factors of safety for this excavation. The three dimensional nature of the embankment/spillway interface and excavation
geometry was identified as an important factor in the upgrade design.
A detailed geotechnical assessment was undertaken and a geotechnical model developed that
accounted for potential softened zones adjacent to the spillway wall, along the foundation, and within
A 3-D limit equilibrium slope stability program was utilised to analyse the 3-D factors of safety. The
program employed an extension of Bishop’s method of slices to a 3-D ‘method of columns’. A 3-D
finite element analysis was also undertaken to estimate likely deformations of the embankment and cut slope during construction.
The development of the geotechnical model and subsequent analysis allowed the upgrade works to be undertaken with confidence.
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.
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.
State Water # as manager of Keepit Dam has established a comprehensive upgrade project.
A portfolio risk assessment by State Water of its major dams placed Keepit Dam as the highest priority for an upgrade.
While extreme flood and earthquake dam safety are the main drivesr for this upgrade, the opportunity has been taken to integrate other key dam management considerations into the process including environmental improvements, flood mitigation and sustainable regional development.
The dam, which is located on the Namoi River some 45km upstream of Gunnedah, is, in tandem with Split Rock Dam upstream, a vital irrigation water supply for the Namoi Valley region in northern New South Wales.
In considering the most appropriate way of addressing the critical flood safety issue, it became very apparent that the solutions were many and they significantly impacted on the local community. Other important issues such as water quality and flood mitigation, and overall sustainable development in the valley, particularly system water reliability, could influence dam safety solutions and so also needed to be considered as part of the process. As such it was considered imperative that the local community be actively involved in determining both interim and long-term upgrade solutions.
To achieve the best outcome for the region, State Water since mid 2001, has used the community consultation approach to guide the project.
Currently interim works have been completed and long-term options are being evaluated.
An Environmental Impact Statement on the preferred proposal will be undertaken during the later part of 2004 and if approved, all works will be completed by end of 2007.
This paper will highlight our experiences to date including:
• the proposition of an integrated consultative process;
• the background to the project;
• the need for and extent of upgrade;
• an integrated consultation and communication approach including innovative processes and the creation of a high profile Community Reference Panel (CRP) to guide the upgrade project;
• some dos and don’ts from a consultation perspective, for use in other upgrade projects; and
• where to from now.