Ensuring compliance with the Regulator’s requirements is a cornerstone consideration for any water corporation in planning its risk minimisation strategies against dam failure. With the increased focus on due diligence and corporate governance however, there are emerging themes that are of equal importance for a water corporation in planning protections against its core risks to dam safety.
These considerations include:
Verbund – Austrian Hydro Power (AHP) is the owner and operator of 27 large dams. The highest dam is the 200 m high Koelnbrein arch dam and the highest embankment dam is the 83 m high Durlass-boden dam. Instrumentation of the dams of AHP comprises almost all kinds of instruments employed in dam monitoring. Manual measurements are carried out with the help of portable terminals. Auto-matic monitoring with an early warning system is implemented at all dams. Besides a description of the monitoring system and some “interesting” measurement results the article also deals with organisational aspects of dam surveillance.
The case study of Koelnbrein arch dam is appended to the article. It contains a brief description of the original dam and the encountered problems as well as of the main elements of the remedial works. Dam surveillance and the performance up to now are also dealt with.
Karen Soo Kee
Strategic resource management has never been more important than it is today with the aging of the “baby boomers” and their ongoing exodus from the workforce. The vacancies they leave in professions such as engineering are just beginning to be felt and will exponentially escalate over the next few years. Specialised professions such as dam engineering and related professions will be hit the hardest as the knowledge and skills learnt over decades are depleted.
The lack of skilled staff and in fact the lack of interest of young engineers in entering the dam industry is one of the critical challenges for today. How do we attract professional staff into the field of dam safety before the exodus creates a “black hole” that can never be filled? And how can we ensure the knowledge transfer from existing skilled staff to newer staff to retain expertise within the industry?
Another issue for resource management is that tomorrow’s workers, the “X &Y generations”, will be unlike the current and previous generations of workers. These workers will be less likely to have a mortgage, will have fewer children and be more interested in lifestyle, not career. They will be extremely confident, well-educated and very mobile. The future will be a sellers market. The challenge here will not only be to attract and recruit talented workers but also to retain them.
G. L. Sills, N. D. Vroman, J. B. Dunbar, R. E. Wahl
In August 2005, Hurricane Katrina made landfall just east of New Orleans and inflicted widespread damage on the Hurricane Protection System (HPS) for southeast Louisiana. Subsequent flooding was a major catastrophe for the region and the Nation.
The response to this disaster by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers included forming an Interagency
Performance Evaluation Taskforce (IPET) to study the response of the system and, among many lines of inquiry, to identify causes of failure of levees and floodwalls.
Beginning in September 2005, the IPET gathered geotechnical forensic data from failed portions of levees and floodwalls. Major clues discovered at the 17th Street break, including clay wedges dividing a formerly continuous layer of peat, led to an explanation of the failures. Field data from the failure sites were interpreted within the regional geologic setting of the New Orleans area to identify geologic and geotechnical factors that contributed to the catastrophe. The data gathered provided a method that resulted in the “IPET Strength Model.” This strength was used in analyses of the I-walls and levees using limit equilibrium stability analyses, physical modeling using a powerful centrifuge, and finite-element analyses.
The results of all three types of studies revealed a consistent mode of failure that included deformation of the I-walls and foundation instability. The IPET also studied non-failed I-walls at Orleans and Michoud Canals, to identify geotechnical, structural, and geologic distinctions between failed and non-failed reaches.
Performance of the HPS during Hurricane Katrina offered many lessons to be learned. These lessons learned include: the lack of resiliency in the HPS; the need for risk-based planning and design approach; the need for the examination of system-wide functionality; and knowledge, technology, and expertise deficiencies in the HPS arena. In addition, understanding of the failure mechanisms and related causes of the levee and floodwall breaches provides a new direction for future designs of hurricane protection systems.
Joseph Matthews, Dr Mark Foster, Michael Phillips
Pykes Creek Dam is a 39m high earthfill dam with a central clay puddle core, first completed in 1911 and raised in 1930. A detailed risk assessment of the dam indicated that the risk did not satisfy ANCOLD societal risk criteria and that remedial works were necessary to address piping deficiencies and inadequate flood capacity. The risk assessment identified that piping at the embankment/spillway interface accounted for over 80% of the total risk. Therefore, interim risk reduction works were implemented in 2005 to address this risk issue while investigations and design studies were progressed for the second stage of works. Following the Stage 1 works, Pykes Creek Dam remains the highest risk in Southern Rural Water’s portfolio of dams and Stage 2 works are planned to commence in 2007 to reduce piping risks and increase flood capacity. The aim of the Stage 2 works is to reduce the risk below the Limit of Tolerability for Existing Dams (ANCOLD 2003) and to increase the flood capacity to a level more appropriate for an Extreme consequence category dam based on ALARP principles. The upgrade will stop short of meeting the PMF as there are other dams in Southern Rural Water’s portfolio requiring attention before an upgrade to this standard would be considered. The design of the works was complicated by the fact that the dam is bisected by a major freeway and has a complex spillway layout. This paper discusses the decision-making process and the methods used to analyse the dam from the initial risk assessment studies through to the design of the remedial works.
P Amos, N Logan, and J Walker
There are a number of geological faults in close proximity to Aviemore Power Station in the South Island of New Zealand, including a fault in the foundation of the 48m high earth dam component of the power station. Possible movement of the Waitangi Fault in the earth dam foundation is of particular concern for dam safety, and the effects on the dam of a fault rupture has been the subject of detailed investigation by the dam’s owner Meridian Energy Ltd. These investigations have concluded that the dam will withstand the anticipated fault displacement related to the Safety Evaluation Earthquake without catastrophic release of the reservoir.
The identification of damage to the dam following an earthquake and monitoring of the dam to identify the development of potential failure mechanisms are important for determining the post-earthquake safety of the power station. The first stage of the post-earthquake response plan is the quick identification of any foundation fault rupture and damage to the dam to enable immediate post-earthquake mitigation measures to be initiated, such as reservoir drawdown. Following initial response, the next stage of the post-earthquake monitoring programme for the embankment dam is longer term monitoring to identify a changing seepage condition due to damage to the dam that might lead to a piping incident. Such an incident may not occur immediately after an earthquake, and it can be some time before the piping process becomes evident.
This paper presents some key instrumentation installed at Aviemore Dam and included in the emergency response plan for the post-earthquake monitoring of the embankment dam.