“Off-river” storage, Bootawa Dam, receives water pumped from the Manning River to supply a
regional water scheme on the mid-north coast of NSW.
As part of drought planning, short term predictive modelling of future streamflow has been developed
from an analysis of the last 30 years of recorded flow data and “on-line” upstream river gauges.
In the longer view, a comparison was made of th e last 30 years of recorded flow with an analysis of
the previous 80 years of synthetic flow data. There is a downward trend in streamflow in the last 25
years. Is this likely to continue, or is it part of a cycle or some other factor?
Long term fluctuations in the Southern Oscillation Index are compared to rainfall for this region.
Estimates of sustainable yield of the scheme are dependant on many factors, including environmental flows, dam size, turbidity constraints, river pump transfer capacity, river loss, catchment rural demand, accuracy of streamflow data and future climate change.
The affect of each of these factors has been quantified and ranked according to their importance on
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.
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.
Brian Simmons, Glen Hobbs, S Muralitharan, Udaya Peeligama
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 aboveground 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.
Deryk Forster and Manoj Laxman
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.
What happens when the people that undertake early environmental investigation stay on as part of the delivery team throughout the design and construction phases of a major project such as the Wivenhoe Alliance?
Often, the early investigation for projects, particularly in the case of environmental impact assessments and approvals processes, is carried out independently of the construction team. In the case of the Wivenhoe Alliance, these issues were set out in the scope of the project itself and delivered by the same team during construction.
The benefits and outcomes have been impressive not only for the project, but for SEQWater and the local community into the future. Improved biodiversity values, increased water quality protection, safety improvements, and value for money are only some of the key benefits experienced.
Individuals within the team also benefit. Environmental professionals are able to implement their
knowledge ‘on-ground’ and progressively improve practices in an area of constant change due to
construction initiatives and timeframes.
This paper explores the specific areas in which the involvement of environmental professionals throughout early investigation and planning, design and construction have benefited the Wivenhoe Alliance and the outcomes that have resulted from this innovative approach.