Deryk Forster and Manoj Laxman
The Stage I construction of the Ross River Dam was completed in December 1973. The reservoir
reached full supply level (FSL) and then spilled in January 1974. In 1976, the left embankment was
raised to Stage II level. Spillway gates were installed in February 1978 with full supply level for
Stage 1A (FSL).
In the years following the first filling of the reservoir after the raising of FSL, salt scalding
downstream of the northern portion of the left embankment occurred. This was attributed to
foundation seepage. Investigations started in 1978 to define what remedial measures were required to ensure the safety of the left embankment. Fissured clays were first discovered in the foundations of the Ross River Dam during these investigations.
Fissures could substantially reduce the overall strength of the soil foundations. Therefore the effect of these fissures needs to be considered when evaluating the acceptable levels of reliability against
embankment failure. More extensive fissuring was discovered during the current investigations and a
cataloguing system was employed to characterise the foundation conditions.
A simplified layer model was adopted early on in the design but did not fully demonstrate the
complexity of the subsurface conditions. Extensive use was made of historical geological data,
current investigation data and the application of GIS systems. The resulting model more clearly
represents the foundation conditions and high degree of variability and was used in subsequent risk
assessments for the upgrade design.
Construction of the Lake Buffalo Dam was completed in 1965. It was to be a temporary dam, required to operate for several years, then act as a cofferdam for the construction of a much larger dam downstream. This larger dam was never built and a risk assessment completed by Goulburn Murray Water (G-MW) in 2001 identified several dam safety deficiencies at Lake Buffalo were among the highest priorities for risk reduction measures across the G-MW dams portfolio. Specifically it identified Lake Buffalo as having inadequate flood capacity and there were also concerns about transverse cracking within the embankment.
This paper describes the detailed investigation and analysis of the embankment cracking including assessing the potential for piping through an embankment having deficient filters and known transverse cracking. The design features of the upgrade are also described including the design of the a filter buttress, a parapet wall raise, Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) modelling and spillway anchoring. Construction was completed in 2003.
SunWater has completed a portfolio risk assessment (PRA) on its 25 major dams and has identified a number of dams that do not currently satisfy the ANCOLD fallback position on spillway capacity. It has taken an initiative to target these dams for spillway upgrades to ultimately achieve the ANCOLD fallback standard and has prioritised these upgrades in a preliminary program for action in the short to medium term.
As background to this PRA, SunWater has developed and implemented a dam safety program which has successfully updated all necessary flood hydrology and dam break analyses and reassessed the consequences and hazards associated with dam failures. It has also completed within the last eight years, dam safety reviews on all its dams in preparation for a comprehensive risk assessment process which is now well in-hand. This process will identify and evaluate all other risks, in addition to floods, that should be addressed or at least considered in the planning and design of these spillway capacity upgrades.
This paper describes SunWater’s experience and approach to PRA and discusses the controlling factors considered in prioritisation. It shows the results and trends of a number of risk ranking methods, provides details of the current level of societal risks in respect of the ANCOLD tolerability limits and outlines SunWater’s current strategy for the timing and staging of spillway upgrades to achieve compliance and an optimum level of risk reduction.
Craig Messer, Francisco Lopez, and Manoj Laxman
The Enlarged Cotter Dam is a new 80m high Roller Compacted Concrete Dam being constructed to augment the water supply for the Canberra region. Due to the size of the main dam and the extreme climatic variations in the ACT, where temperatures range from sub zero in winter to in excess of forty degrees in summer, it is expected that significant stresses will be generated during the cooling of the structure. For this reason it is essential that an understanding of the magnitude of these stresses is developed through the initial strength development period and at critical periods such as the first and second winter when the temperature differential between ambient conditions and the core of the structure may be greatest. The development of thermal stress within the structure has critical impacts on both the RCC mix design and the dam construction equipment and methodology.
For the Enlarged Cotter Dam, thermal stresses were investigated using both two and three dimensional finite element transient heat transfer analyses, making use of the thermal properties derived from laboratory testing including instrumented thermal blocks, as well as established literature. Modelling of the thermal stresses in the dam required the development of time dependent concrete properties, such as strength, stiffness and heat generation, with the latter based on test results and calibrated to actual measured values. Additionally, site dependent conditions for ambient temperature, external conduction, convection and radiation factors, dam foundation temperatures and restraint, dam construction sequence, formwork, joint spacing, insulation and timing of reservoir filling were also modelled.
Initial thermal modelling of the dam demonstrated that significant tensile stresses and potential cracking could develop within the structure, at both early and mature concrete ages. Subsequent analyses were developed to investigate methods of reducing these stresses to within acceptable limits. This paper presents the results of the thermal analyses, including the methods to be employed during and after construction to minimise cracking without impacting construction costs and even optimising the speed of construction.
Finite Element Transient Thermal Analysis of the Enlarged Cotter Dam
Changes to the Regulatory and legal environment have resulted in an increased focus on the
importance of proficient management of dams. Operation and maintenance manuals are now a
Regulatory requirement in Tasmania for all but very low hazard dams and are also required to ensure that dams are managed efficiently and safely. To meet these requirements Hydro Tasmania has developed the ‘Smart’ operations and maintenance manual.
Hydro Tasmania has a large portfolio of dams and as a result requires a large number of operations and maintenance manuals. This would result in an overwhelming array of information that is subject to evolving change if the traditional approach to the manual was adopted. To overcome this burden, a controlled electronic manual was developed to enable:
• Critical operation and maintenance information to be collated with minimal effort;
• Electronic hyperlinks to key existing operation and maintenance documents, reference
materials, and portals into operational data bases; and
• A means of updating and controlling information that is subject to change.
This paper will discuss how Hydro Tasmania developed its user-friendly operation and maintenance manuals in an innovative, unique and controlled manner to ensure prudent management of dams and to comply with Regulatory change.