Stuart Macnish, Nikki Bennett
The $70 million upgrade of Wivenhoe Dam is being undertaken by the Wivenhoe Alliance, in close
proximity to the town of Fernvale, Queensland. As part of the Alliance’s commitment to delivering positive outcomes for the local community, it was decided part way through the project, to commit to delivering a ‘signature’ community legacy project. The team brainstormed a range of options and a decision-making matrix was used to choose the project that would best meet its objectives.
A partnership has been formed between the Alliance, Esk Shire Council and SEQWater to deliver a
master-planned project which incorporates elements such as a community information/service facility,upgrade of Fernvale Memorial Park, streetscape enhancements, improved parking and installation of shelters along the adjacent rail trail. These major partners, together with representatives of the local community, constitute the steering committee, which oversees planning of the project.
The project aims to encourage visitors to the area, to provide improved amenity and sense of pride for the region, and in turn encourage strong relationships for SEQWater in the area in which they operate. Due to tight time frames the partnership is managing the fund raising activities, community consultation and design processes in parallel.
This paper discusses the process by which the Alliance was able to deliver this remarkable project, within a short timeframe. It also discusses how the local community has been involved and the benefits, which have resulted.
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The Wivenhoe Dam Spillway Augmentation Project involved the construction of an additional spillway on the right abutment of the main dam. The right abutment is located in massive sandstones and siltstones of Jurassic and Upper Triassic age.
Seismic refraction surveys and borehole drilling conducted at the design stage for the project
indicated that part of the spillway area was likely to be marginally rippable to unrippable using a
Caterpillar D9 bulldozer or equivalent. Further assessment and rock strength testing was conducted during the initial stages of excavation where D9 and D10 bulldozers were in operation. The results from this further work indicated that a section of the spillway extending from the proposed position of the ogee crest to approximately 100m further upstream were unlikely to be unrippable for a D9 dozer and marginally rippable for a D10.
Excavation options considered for this section included full scale blasting and load out, limited small scale ‘popping’ combined with ripping or the use of larger ripping equipment. Based on an
assessment of cost-benefit, and given the availability of larger ripping equipment, it was decided to
use a combination of D10 dozers and a Komatsu 475A bulldozer (D11 equivalent) equipped with
single tine ripping tools. The use of this equipment proved successful with better than anticipated
production rates being achieved. This resulted in significant cost and time savings for the project and reduced the likelihood of potential adverse impacts on the existing dam grout curtain, environment, travelling public and residents that may have occurred during blasting.
The Ross River Dam, designed in the early seventies, does not meet current dam safety criteria for overtopping and piping within the embankment or the foundation. The dam comprises a 40m long concrete overflow spillway flanked by a central core rockfill embankment of 130 m on the right bank and 170m on the left bank with a 7620 m long left bank earth fill embankment, which has no internal filter zones for piping protection. The embankment was extensively assessed and treated forfoundation deficiencies in 1982, and further assessed in 20002002 for appropriate upgrade options.
This paper describes the process of validation of the detailed design using Risk Based Design Criteria. This process included data mining for historical performance and original design intention,
comparison of the original design against current and historical investigations and assessment of the upgrades using the large volume of data available from previous work. A design team comprising specialist hydrologists, hydrogeologists, geologists, geotechnical and dams engineers worked within a risk assessment framework at all stages of the design to ensure the design was validated using the design Validation Model. This process incorporated assessment of crest level based on flood risk and wave overtopping, review of 2D and 3D seepage models to assess piping and foundation erosion potential, assessment of fissured soils within the embankment foundation for structural stability and evaluation of spillway model testing for potential spillway failure modes.
Mike Taylor, Jonathan Jensen and Greg Branson
Pykes Creek Dam is a 33 m high, 22,120 ML embankment dam, 72 km west of Melbourne owned and operated by Southern Rural Water.
The outlet works include a 30 m high “wet” outlet tower near the upstream toe of the dam on the right
abutment with its lower half comprising a concrete lined shaft excavated in rock. A 1.5 m diameter
concrete lined tunnel extends 30 m upstream from the base of the tower to a reinforced concrete inlet structure.
The only controls upstream of the downstream toe of the dam comprised 2 guard gates located on the downstream side of the tower, operated manually by means of handwheels from the top of the tower.
Major deficiencies with the outlet works included:
A major constraint in addressing these deficiencies was that any remedial works needed to be
undertaken without draining the reservoir or interfering with the releases required for downstream
consumers, including irrigators in Werribee and Bacchus Marsh.The paper describes how all of the deficiencies have been addressed with no interruption to supply, by means of a collaborative effort between the dam owner, the consulting engineer, and 5 separate contractors, with the dam owner playing a leading role.
This paper relates to the conference sub-themes of Dam Safety Upgrades – Management of
Risk and Due Diligence and Dam Construction.
Specifically, it relates to the changing willingness of governments to fund risk reduction in
dams compared with risk reduction in other areas.
The cost of dam safety upgrades is just one of a portfolio of risk reduction strategies
affecting the general community that governments are required to underwrite.
This paper examines the variation in acceptable risk standards between dam safety and
other areas. This may be explained in terms of what is acceptable to the community and the
courts. For instance, a corporation is likely to attempt to minimise its liability (which may
differ to minimising risk for the community). We also examine:
• a portfolio approach to safety expenditure and the implicit cost-benefit relationship;
• the impact of the asymmetric relationship between expenditure and absolute size of
potential loss; and
• the importance of a whole-of-government approach and reviewing apparent
inconsistencies in approach to risk.
There is an increasingly well-established literature on the value of a human life and
increasingly systematic approaches to the evaluation of risk and the setting of risk
standards. Risk standards are particularly explicit in the area of dam safety – they set limits
of tolerable risks for large-scale loss of life (eg. for existing dams, a loss of life of more than
10 persons with a probability of more than one in a ten thousand per annum is regarded as
unacceptable under the Australian guidelines).
However, there are significant contrasts in what is tolerated as acceptable risk between
different areas of government activity. To date, there appears to be no systematic evaluation
of the portfolio of risks or a common view on what is acceptable levels.
Basic pre-construction foundation investigations for the Ross River Dam were done in the late ‘60s to early ‘70s but a more detailed hydrogeological assessment was carried out to investigate and manage waterlogging and salinity, which developed immediately downstream in the late 1970s.
As part of the 2005 Stage 2 to 5 upgrade design, detailed conceptual and numerical hydrogeological modelling was required to predict aquifer response along the embankment and downstream. This required “data mining” and additional drilling and aquifer testing to fill in data gaps, with the filtered and re-interpreted data used to build a 3D conceptual model of the embankment and underlying geology, by a design team comprising specialist hydrogeologists, geologists, geotechnical and dams engineers. This was converted to a 10-layer, 2-million cell numerical model, to enable high-resolution modelling of groundwater behaviour for a range of aquifer properties, flood hydrographs and seepage management options. As well as a design tool, the model is a valuable monitoring tool in confirming the performance of seepage management systems and to provide early warning of seepage management failures.
The study emphasised the need to capture data for a wide range in aquifer stress, to have simple
preliminary spreadsheet models to provide a “sanity check” and to collect data away from the
embankment to allow a 3D interpretation of the geology, to the assumption of “layer cake” models.