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.
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.
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.
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.
Yarrawonga Weir was constructed in the 1930’s and is located on the Victoria / New South Wales border, between the towns of Yarrawonga and Mulwala. Dam safety investigations revealed that the main embankment was founded on a very loose layer of sand that would be vulnerable to liquefaction even under the operating basis earthquake
This paper details the statutory approvals and community consultation processes that were employed and the benefits that they provided to the $13 million remedial works project.
Local communities can assist, be neutral or obstruct a project. By engaging the community in a positive manner it is possible to deliver excellent results without increasing costs.