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.
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.
Warragamba Dam supplies up to 80% of Sydney’s water needs and is currently undergoing a range of major infrastructure upgrades. The outlet works upgrade is one of these projects. The outlet works of the dam were constructed in the 1950s and consisted of four 2100mm pipes with isolating gate valves and needle control valves feeding two large above ground pipelines running 27 kilometres east to Prospect Reservoir in Sydney’s western suburbs.
In the 1990s the then dam owner (Sydney Water) undertook a detailed and extensive risk analysis of the outlet works. The study resulted in a recommendation to remove the existing valves and replace them with a combination of emergency closure (guard) valves and isolating valves. Under the Sydney Catchment Authority (the present dam owner) work subsequently proceeded in 2004 as a design and construct contract with all aspects of construction and water supply risks identified. Stringent controls were developed and placed on work programs and pipeline shutdowns to ensure the safety of all involved and the integrity of the supply to Sydney.
The four outlets required eight large valves, which were manufactured in Germany and were required to meet stringent operational requirements.
At the time of writing three of the four outlets have been successfully upgraded and commissioned. Work has commenced on upgrading the fourth outlet, which is due for completion by the time of the conference, approximately 20 months ahead of schedule.
This paper discusses the project from the initiation of the risk analysis study, through the
consideration of options, development of the contract, and the supply, installation and commissioning of the large valves and pipe work. It highlights the role of risk assessment in selection of the preferred option and addresses some of the engineering challenges faced during the project.
The Tarong coal-fired power station near Kingaroy in southern Queensland discharges ash to a storage facility of 42,000 ML capacity, impounded by a 48 m high-zoned earth and rockfill dam embankment. The embankment was constructed in 1980–81. In recent years, Tarong Energy Corporation (TEC) has investigated a number of options for a new storage facility as the remaining capacity of the existing ash dam storage diminishes. TEC determined that the existing facility should be upgraded to provide additional storage capacity for the short term. At the same time, there emerged a requirement to improve the long-term seismic resistance of the embankment. Enlarging the existing spillway cut provided the material for a 400,000 m3 weighting zone and, by reducing the design flood freeboard, extended the ash disposal capacity by several years without a need to raise the embankment. Challenges included significant foundation seepage and deteriorated riprap. The paper describes the issues, risks, adopted criteria, investigation undertaken, and implementation of the upgrading works. Innovative approaches to the provision of future storage capacity are outlined.
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.
N. Vitharana and S. Terzaghi
There is a large stock of embankment dams throughout the world needing the assessment of their
safety as required by modern dam safety regulations. Due mainly to economic and site constraints
associated with potential dam upgrading work, it is imperative that a rational approach be adopted in
assessing their safety and in designing the remedial works. One of the most important criteria is the
selection of appropriate geotechnical parameters under different conditions. Predominant loading
conditions in a dam are much different from those in other structures such as bridge and building
foundations and therefore the direct adoption of traditional approaches may not always be valid. This
paper presents the various aspects of issues associated with the stability assessment of dams including
the rational selection of the parameters and numerical codes available to dan/geotechnical engineers
to assess their safety.