Robert Humphries, Caroline Minton, Andrew Baker and Mark Leathersich
There is a constant stream of criticism levelled at the perceived or actual adverse environmental
effects of large dams. These criticisms include prevention of fish migration, thermal and chemical and biological disturbance of downstream riverine habitats, silt trapping and drowning of terrestrial
habitats by flooding behind the dam wall. The beneficial effects of dams are rarely discussed, but
include aquatic habitat creation, catchment protection, flood mitigation, carbon sequestration and
protection of endangered species, amongst others.
Critics of large dams rarely present an analysis of the environmental costs and benefits of other water supply options, which include abstraction of shallow or deep groundwater, desalination of seawater, and reclamation of human or other wastewater.
In this paper we compare the environmental costs and benefits of water supply from large dams with
the common alternative options, and assess the relative sustainability of them all.
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.
SunWater has completed a portfolio risk assessment(PRA) on its 25 major dams and has identified a number of dams that do not currently satisfy the ANCOLD fallback position on spillway capacity. It has taken an initiative to target these dams for spillway upgrades to ultimately achieve the ANCOLD fallback standard and has prioritised these upgrades in a preliminary program for action in the short to medium term.
As background to this PRA, SunWater has developed and implemented a dam safety program which has successfully updated all necessary flood hydrology and dam break analyses and reassessed the consequences and hazards associated with dam failures. It has also completed within the last eight years, dam safety reviews on all its dams in preparation for a comprehensive risk assessment process which is now well in-hand. This process will identify and evaluate all other risks, in addition to floods,that should be addressed or at least considered in the planning and design of these spillway capacity upgrades.
This paper describes SunWater’s experience and approach to PRA and discusses the controlling factors considered in prioritisation. It shows the results and trends of a number of risk ranking methods, provides details of the current level of societal risks in respect of the ANCOLD tolerability limits and outlines SunWater’s current strategy for the timing and staging of spillway upgrades to achieve compliance and an optimum level of risk reduction.
Paul Hurst, Michael Smith
Wellington Dam is an extreme hazard concrete gravity dam located on the Collie River approximately 170km south of Perth. Originally constructed to a height of 19m in 1933, the dam was raised to its present height of 34m in 1960 by placing significant additional concrete against the downstream face of the original dam. To ensure a lasting bond along the interface between the original and secondary concrete, an open slot was formed and later grouted once the temperature of the secondary concrete was similar to that of the original dam.
A recently completed stability analysis identified that Wellington Dam falls well short of contemporary dam engineering standards for flood loading. Several assumptions were made during the preliminary analysis relating to concrete shear strength parameters, bonding between the original and secondary concrete and drain effectiveness that generated a significant range of results. On this basis, further investigation was carried out to define the concrete parameters and drain condition at Wellington Dam.
Exploratory drilling found that Wellington Dam is cracked from the upper gallery through to the downstream face. The drilling programme also confirmed that the interface between the original and secondary concrete has become unbonded and that the gravity dam is behaving like an unbonded short composite beam. The mechanism causing the observed behaviour of Wellington Dam can largely be explained by external temperature effects and Alkali Aggregate Reaction, (AAR).
This paper explores the techniques used to investigate the condition of the concrete and illustrates the relationship between concrete behaviour and temperature and AAR effects within a composite concrete gravity dam
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.
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.