Ian Cordery, Peter S. Cloke
Scientists advocate more hydrological monitoring but in most regions publicly funded monitoring is in
steady decline. The lack of measured data at dam sites means there are many designs for new dams and remedial work that are insufficiently supported by factual information. Unfortunately data –free modelling exercises will usually produce favourable results – favourable to the modeller’s purposes, but not necessarily favourable to the determination of physical reality or truth. In these days of the popularity of modelling it is common to find decisions being made based on model studies for which little or no local data were available for model calibration or verification. How can the ‘large dam’ fraternity encourage (ensure) more data use? Causes of lack of data are many. For example governments fund data collection but others need the data, and data collection is a long-term activity that produces few benefits in the short term. Some years ago it was shown that hydrological data collection and archiving provided benefits to the community of at least nine times the costs of the data.
The real costs of comprehensive data collection are not large but examples will be given of the huge
costs, mainly due to the need to allow for uncertainty, that result from unavailability of data. Those
who understand this problem need to explain it to their communities, politicians and CEOs in a clear,
unmistakably persuasive manner, and to demand an increase in data collection. If we do not, no one
— OR —
Jon Williams and Chi Fai Wan
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 inthe 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
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.
This paper outlines how Grampians Wimmera Mallee Water (trading as GWMWater) and its consultants managed the upgrading of Bellfield dam’s 43m high, reinforced concrete dry outlet tower and discharge facilities. The upgrading included improvements to operations, the provision of safe person and materials access into the tower and its 1200 mm diameter steel penstock, anchoring the tower with post tensioned cable anchors to resist seismic loads, refurbishing a 1200 mm butterfly valve and penstock corrosion assessments and repair.
Prior to the upgrading, access to all areas was difficult and unsafe to some areas. In particular no provision had been made during the original construction for butterfly valve removal or safe access into vertical sections of the penstock. Overcoming these deficiencies required considerable survey, detailed movement planning and attention to detail.
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.