P Maisano, M Taylor , M Barker and A Parsons
South Para Dam, completed in 1958, is located on the South Para River, 38 km north of Adelaide. The embankment is 45 m high and comprises compacted crushed phyllite with rockfill toes. The 13 m high rock fill toes are protected with three-stage filters but the remaining 32 m of embankment height has no downstream filter protection.
The South Australian Water Corporation (SA Water), the owner and operator of the dam, is considering modifications to the dam, to augment its flood mitigation role. The proposed works, while not affecting the full supply level, involve a modification to the spillway crest and raising of the embankment crest to accommodate increased flood levels. SA Water therefore commissioned a dam safety review to assess the need for any piping or overtopping protection that may be required. This was followed by concept designs to ensure that flood mitigation work is compatible with any required dam safety upgrade work.
The results of a detailed dam failure risk analysis using event trees showed that the Societal Risk for the existing dam needed to be reduced, and that the proposed spillway modifications increased the Societal Risk due to the increased risk of piping failure with higher flood levels.
The risk analysis showed that eliminating the overtopping modes of failure by raising the dam crest is not sufficient in itself to achieve the required reduction in risk. The provision of filter protection to reduce the risk of piping failure is required, but it was shown that it is not necessary to provide full height filters as the provision of filters only above full supply level would be sufficient to achieve the required reduction in risk.
The recommended upgrade works, in addition to the proposed spillway modification for flood mitigation purposes, consist of filter protection and a weighting fill above the top berm (4.4 m below FSL) to facilitate connection to a possible full height filter in the future, and a parapet wall to provide overtopping protection.The resulting cost saving compared with the installation of full height filters is in excess of $2 Million.
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This paper presents a number of innovative hydrologic investigations undertaken for the recent
detailed design of upgrades for Ross River Dam in North Queensland. A key issue for estimating
extreme floods in the tropics is the estimation of flood events of long critical durations. The
implication is that there is an increased focus on estimating the correct volume (not only the peak
flow). This paper describes the regional analysis of flow volumes that was used to validate the
estimated flood volumes.
Another issue of considerable importance is the assumed relationship between inflows and initial
reservoir level. The analyses described in this paper showed that inflows are independent of reservoir levels for the more frequent events but for more extreme events they are correlated. This has important implication on how the initial reservoir level is incorporated in the hydrologic analysis. The final aspect covered by the paper is the derivation of seasonal flood frequency curves. This is particularly important given the highly seasonal nature of rainfalls in the tropics and the results are important for assessing risks during construction and scheduling the upgrade works.
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.
Robert Virtue, Deryk Forster, Jon Williams and Sabina Fahrner
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 water logging 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 damsengineers. 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.
Brett Jones, Brian Mayhew
In preparation for the Corporatisation of the former Snowy Mountains Hydro-electric Authority, an
enquiry was held into the health of the Snowy River below Jindabyne Dam. This enquiry has led to a
range of environmental release requirements being placed on the new entity Snowy Hydro, including
requirements for variable release patterns (daily base flows and periodic flushing flows) and water
Construction works are currently underway to modify the existing Jindabyne Dam structures so that
these releases can be provided. The works include a new intake channel and control structure, a new environmental release tunnel and modifications to the existing spillway, including a concrete lined chute and plunge pool. Provision is also being made for a future mini-hydro power station, which would generate using waters released to provide environmental flows.
This paper discusses the history and background of Jindabyne Dam including the Snowy River
inquiry, details of the environmental flow requirements; design to meet the required capabilities and
the current status of the project.
Barton Maher, Richard Rodd
Changes to the estimation of extreme rainfall events resulted in significant increases in the estimates of the PMF since the original design of Wivenhoe Dam. To upgrade the dam to meet these new requirements, SEQWater (owner and operator) formed an Alliance with Leighton Contractors, Coffey Geosciences, MWH and the NSW Department of Commerce.
The option selected for the upgrade works included the construction of a new secondary spillway, upgrade of the existing gravity section, radial-gated spillway, and strengthening of the dam crest.
Value management was key throughout the project ensuring the Alliance was continually looking to
improve practices, increase cost-effectiveness and create innovative solutions for design elements of the project.
On numerous occasions when the design was challenged, the Alliance made ‘best for project’ decisions to carry out additional investigations or design work to pursue alternatives. As an example, the powerful tool of Computational Fluid Dynamics was used in the analysis and design of flow deflector plates on the existing spillway, which were an alternative to the originally designed gate locking pins. The investigation and development of this alternative resulted in significant cost savings and a more effective design solution.
This paper presents aspects of the design carried out by the Wivenhoe Alliance, lessons learned, and the way continual investigations during construction provided value for money solutions.