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.
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.
The Ross River Dam was constructed in 1974 following design by the State Government, including
hydraulic model testing, by SMEC. The maximum spillway discharge at that time was 1100 m3/s.
Latterly, the dam and spillway have come up for a comprehensive review given that the dam is in an extreme hazard category because of its location only a short distance upstream of the city of
Townsville. The revised hydrology has produced outflow hydrographs peaking at over 4 000 m3/s – more than three and a half times the original – to be passed through the 130 ft (39.62 m) wide
The paper describes the hydraulic modelling planned and carried out to determine changes needed to handle such high discharges. The modelling was to provide for the installation of radial gates and piers, and study of the water level, pressure and dissipation conditions in the dissipator for several key discharges through the range to PMF. Pressure measurements included transients, consideration of the potential for uplift of the basin floor slabs, the integrity of the walls to handle the differential loads, and, as a major consideration, the energy conditions in the flow exiting the dissipator and the integrity of the rock downstream to avoid erosion. Each of these aspects will be addressed in the paper both from the modelling and interpretation standpoint and from the civil structural analysis standpoint, together with a description of the strengthening works required to achieve a satisfactory outcome.
Peter D Amos, Pip Nicolson, M Grant Webby, Murray D Gillon
To obtain a resource consent to build and operate any new water resource or hydro-electric development in New Zealand, the developer is required by the Resource Management Act (RMA) to consult with the community over the effects that the development could have, including describing how public safety risks will be avoided, remedied or mitigated. The community has the opportunity to respond to the authorities issuing the resource consent and influence the conditions attached to the consent.
The proposed Project Aqua Scheme in the South Island, New Zealand, comprised a 60 km long canal system to convey 340 cumecs flow from the Waitaki River across alluvial river terraces and through a chain of six hydro-power stations before returning the water back to the river. Each section of canal between stations would have contained between 4 and 6 million m3 of water within embankments up to 20m high. A breach of any one of these canals had the potential to flood farmland, residential buildings, highways, and other infrastructure, thereby posing a safety risk to local residents together with the potential for significant economic loss.
The paper describes the methodologies that were developed and used to assess the impacts, the measures proposed to avoid, remedy or mitigate safety risks and the public reaction to the associated report that was provided for public consultation prior to abandonment of the project. The methodologies used required adaptation of dam safety and consequence assessment practices usually applied to in-river dams, and applied here to the 60 km long length of canal embankment.
John Grimston Sally Marx Robin Dawson and Peter Thomson
The Wai-iti Valley is located in the northern region of New Zealand’s South Island. Water demand during summer in the Wai-iti Valley is greater than the available supply, resulting in water allocation restrictions and pressure on in-stream habitat and uses. Further, the summer water resource in the Wai-iti Catchment is currently over-allocated. Thus, since the mid 1980s, Tasman District Council (TDC) has been unable to grant new water permits to take water from either rivers or groundwater in the Wai-iti Catchment. Existing water permit quotas have been reduced where they were not being used, but despite this agricultural, horticultural and domestic use is frequently restricted during dry years.
Recently, the need for a community solution was identified for the Wai-iti Valley area. The Wai-iti Water Augmentation Committee (comprising representatives from the local community and TDC) was set up in 1995 to find the best option for the northernmost extent of the Wai-iti valley. A feasibility study for a community dam was completed in 2001 identifying small off-river storage dams as options. The proposed scheme is located in a tributary of the Wai-iti River and is essentially a water harvesting project where winter flows in the stream would be impounded and stored, and gradually released on a regular basis back into the stream and Wai-iti River system during dry summer periods.
The paper will cover the project’s economic objectives as well as community and environmental impacts and the consenting process under the Resource Management Act. Dam construction is planned to start in October 2004.
The Ross River Dam was first commissioned in 1974 and raised in 1976. The 8200 m long
embankment was not fitted with chimney filters and has suffered extensive desiccation cracking since it was raised. A significant component of the dam upgrade is the retrofitting of filter zones to ensure the embankment meets current dam safety guidelines.
This paper describes the process of investigation of the existing desiccation cracks and the use of Hole Erosion Tests (HET) and No Erosion Filter (NEF) tests to validate the design of the retrofitted filter. A significant challenge in the design is to provide a cost effective solution given the 7500 m length of embankment requiring treatment. Assessment of flow rates within cracks and expected piping erosion along the cracks was used to assess the required drainage capacity. This assessment of expected flow capacity allowed the deletion of the coarse filter in the design reducing the filter requirement from a triple filter to a single fine filter. Results of this assessment were incorporated into the Risk Assessment based design validation process.