A brief overview of dam surveillance is given from a South African perspective and more specifically the perspective of the Department of Water Affairs and Forestry (DWAF). DWAF’s Ten Commandments for the design of dam monitoring systems serve as introduction and this is followed by a summary of the design steps. The various parameters that can be measured and the South African preferences are discussed briefly followed by a synoptic description of crack and joint monitoring in South Africa. This provides the background for DWAF’s recent developments in 3-D Crack-Tilt gauges. Some of DWAF’s achievements as well as some of the blunders made by the author during the past 30 years are illustrated by means of a few case histories.
Janice H. Green and Jeanette Meighen
The Probable Maximum Precipitation (PMP) is defined as ‘the theoretical greatest depth of
precipitation that is physically possible over a particular catchment’. The PMP depths provided by
the Bureau of Meteorology are described as ‘operational estimates of the PMP’ as they represent the best estimate of the PMP depth that can be made, based on the relatively small number of large events that have been observed and our limited knowledge of the causative mechanisms of extreme rainfalls.
Nevertheless, the magnitudes of the PMP depths provided by the Bureau are often met with scepticism concerning their accuracy when compared to large rainfall events which have been observed within catchments and which are, typically, only 20% to 25% of the PMP estimates. The recent increases in the PMP depths, resulting from the revision of the Generalised Tropical Storm Method (GTSMR), have served only to entrench this cynicism.
However, analyses of the magnitudes of the storms in the databases adopted for deriving PMP depths show that these observed storms constituted up to 76% of the corresponding GTSMR PMP depths and up to 80% of the Generalised Southeast Australia Method PMPs for the storm location. Further, comparisons of the PMP depths to large storms observed in similar climatic regions around the world indicate that the PMPs are not outliers.
The results of these analyses are presented for a range of catchment locations and sizes and storm durations and demonstrate that the PMP estimates provided by the Bureau of Meteorology are reasonable and are not unduly large.
John D Smart
The paper presents the recent trends in the use of instrumentation and survey measurements at Bureau of Reclamation (Reclamation) dams. The underlying philosophy that has influenced those trends is presented and discussed. Based on experience at Reclamation, several factors that are considered key to the effective use of instrumentation and surveys are discussed. Several conclusions are offered.,
The paper describes the methodology, operative techniques and organizational aspects that are used for dam safety assessment procedures. Kelag owns 15 larger dams with wall heights up to 110 m. It is necessary to monitor the aging of the structures and to check all safety equipment regularly. The manned control centre is situated at the KELAG Headquarter in Klagenfurt, which is the capital of Austria’s southern-most Province, Carinthia. KELAG is the principal electricity supplier in Carinthia, and owns several reservoirs in the Austrian Alps. The whole hydropower system has a capacity of 434 MW with an annual production of 1000 GWh. During the last century KELAG employees designed, supervised and constructed most of the structures in cooperation with the authorities. Most of the rock-fill dams have a bituminous concrete sealing on the upstream face. KELAG owns one concrete arch dam with a height of 30 m. A pendulum monitors the movement of the dam crest. This information is transmitted to both the power house and the manned control centre in Klagenfurt. Seepage is monitored at all rock-fill dams. In case of an alarm a skilled engineer has to be informed by the staff of the manned control centre. This dam safety engineer starts to check the reasons on site and manages the emergency action plan. Data has been collected since 1998 and special software is used to handle this information, carry out interpretation and safety assessments. One aim of data collection is to develop a decision support system performing online evaluation, explanation and interpretation of dam behaviour. Normally, once a year geodetic measurements are carried out at all dams.
KELAG’s experience gained in the use of automatic monitoring and risk assessment of dams is covered in this paper. The monitoring systems show the state of the structures and those showing anomalous situations requiring human intervention can be identified as soon as possible. Although the repercussions of the free market system have led to substantial staff reductions, the quality of dam surveillance has had to remain unaffected. Dam safety is guaranteed by new types of instrumentation, data transmission and data assessment. A special software has to be updated constantly.
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.
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.