A survey of spillway gate systems and operations has recently been completed by dam organisations in Nth America, Australia and New Zealand. The survey sought to identify typical arrangements for spillway gate systems and common features pertaining to reliability such as system redundancy, actuation methods and back-up systems, gate and hoist types, remote and local operation, gate testing programmes, and human factors.
Sixteen organizations responded, covering sixty two dams and nearly four hundred gates. This Paper reports on the preliminary analysis of the data, providing an overview of the industries’ approach to spillway gate operation and control.
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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.”
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.
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.
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