In Austria, special procedures for ensuring dam safety apply to dams higher than 15 m or reservoirs with a capacity of more than 500,000 m³. There are at present about 90 dams which belong to this category. The largest one is the 200 m high Kölnbrein arch dam.
In general, it is the task of the dam owner to provide for the safety of a dam. For that, he has to appoint qualified engineers, the “Dam Safety Engineers”, which are in charge of dam surveillance and maintenance. The Water Authority verifies that the owner makes the necessary provisions for dam safety. Water Authorities are the Provincial Governor and the Federal Minister of Agriculture and Forestry. The Water Authorities are supported by a governmental advisory board, the “Austrian Commission on Dams”.
Projects for new dams or for reconstruction of existing dams are examined by the Austrian Commission on Dams. Approval by the Water Authority is based on the findings of this commission. A group of a few experts of the commission accompanies the project during construction, first impounding and the final acceptance procedure. In normal operation, dam attendants carry out visual inspections and measurements. The most important instruments are measured automatically and the data are transmitted to a permanently manned control centre. The Dam Safety Engineer has to inspect the dam at least once a year. His annual report to the Water Authorities must contain an assessment of the safety of the dam. The Federal Dam Supervisory Department of the ministry checks the annual reports and carries out an in-depth inspection of the dam at least every five years.
In the case of extraordinary events, the Dam Safety Engineer has to assess the situation and he has to set appropriate measures. An Emergency Action Plan is available for all dams of the said category.
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The Koralpe hydropower scheme is a major development on the Feistritzbach tributary of the River Drau to utilize water in a 50 MW powerhouse located in the south-eastern Carinthia, Europe. The Soboth reservoir is situated 735 m higher in a narrow valley and is created by the 85 m high Feistritzbach dam which was constructed near the border of Austria and Slovenia between 1988 and 1990. This rockfill dam is the latest addition to KELAG’s more than 15 structures and is sealed by an asphaltic core. The excellent deformability and impermeability of the asphaltic core is able to follow the deformation of the compacted rock-fill material best during construction, initial filling and operation period without any seepage. The asphaltic core was placed in three 20 cm layers per day by a specially developed placing unit from a contractor. The upstream and downstream filter zone was placed at the same time with the same machine and compacted carefully by vibrating rollers. The dam is curved in plan with a radius of 650 m and contains about 1.6 million m³ rock fill material. The surface of the downstream side was built exceeding the environmental standards of the time.The most important indicator of the normal function of a dam is the behaviour of seepage. A monitoring system of seepage, piezometers, earth pressure cells and deformation has been installed. The seepage water is monitored online at seven points of the dam base and at the access tunnel to the bottom outlet valve. Geodetic measurements on and inside the dam are done once a year. Several additional pieces of surveillance equipment were installed to observe the behaviour of the asphaltic core. The paper concentrates on the design, construction and performance of the dam with the asphaltic core.
John Bosler and Francisco Lopez
The ANCOLD “Guidelines for the Design of Dams for Earthquake” were published in August 1998. The guidelines contain a brief outline of the performance requirements and recommend, in general terms, a method of analysis for intake towers.
Over the last three decades there has been considerable research on the seismic performance of intake towers as they move into their inelastic range. In the years following the publication of the ANCOLD guidelines, some of the findings from this research have been incorporated into revised design procedures issued by the US Army Corps of Engineers. These procedures, if embraced by ANCOLD and the local dam engineering community, are likely to have a significant impact on how the structural adequacy of existing towers under seismic loading are assessed.
Rocking behaviour in which the tower becomes unstable as a transient condition has long been recognised as acceptable under certain conditions. Attempts to prevent tower rocking by measures such as retrofitting tensioned ground anchors may, in some situations, be of limited value in improving the seismic performance of a tower and could result in an increase in bending moments in the tower stem. Guidance is now available on the amount of rocking behaviour that is tolerable.
For seismic events greater than the Operating Basis Earthquake most towers will start to exhibit inelastic behaviour. Specific guidance is also now available on the length of time during an earthquake that bending moments in excess of the elastic capacity can be tolerated, the amount by which these moments can exceed the nominal bending moment capacity and the vertical extent of the tower stem that can be stressed beyond its elastic limit.
The paper discusses the different approaches taken by ANCOLD and the Corps of Engineers. Key differences in outcomes are highlighted using a worked example for a typical reinforced concrete tower and the ANCOLD approach is found to be generally, but not always, more conservative. The paper concludes with recommendations for dealing with these differences.
David M. Schaaf, P.E., Jeff Schaefer, Ph.D., P.E., P.G
The United States Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) has an inventory of over 600 dams. The main purpose of many of these dams is for flood control, but there are a significant number of dams primarily used for navigation. Additional benefits at many of these projects are provided through hydropower generation, recreation, and irrigation for farmers. Many of the dams are quite old and represent an aging infrastructure across the inventory. In addition, leaner budgets relative to the need for repairs across the aging system require that USACE invest wisely in order to efficiently use available funds to reduce the greatest risks across the inventory. Previously, individual projects with perceived deficiencies were evaluated separately by the responsible district. This evaluation was not compared in any programmatic way to other USACE dams being evaluated for deficiencies.
In order to improve the process of making risk-based decisions across the entire spectrum of USACE dams, the Screening for Portfolio Risk Assessment (SPRA) for the USACE Dam Safety Program was initiated during the summer of 2005. This effort represents the first level of a multiple phased effort to bring full scale risk assessment to the decision-making regarding making investment decisions associated with dam safety by linking engineering reliability with economic and life loss impacts on a relative scale. The SPRA effort involved the development of a tool for evaluating the relative life and economic risk of dam failures for a variety of deficiencies across the inventory of USACE dams. This paper will focus on the basic aspects of the evaluation tool as well as the process by which the screening was completed.
Legal and moral requirements necessitate an “equivalent to industry standard” approach to dam management by all dam owners. As an urban authority Central Highlands Water has a portfolio of dams with a broad range of classification and risk. ANCOLD Guidelines form the basis of our approach to dam management. Thus any guidelines developed can have significant affect on our budget and operation. Guidelines with requirements targeted at extreme and high hazard dams managed by large authorities with “deep pockets” may not be reasonable to impose upon low risk structures managed by lesser authorities. This does not mean smaller authorities want to do it on the “cheap” but budgets for such infrastructure can be hard to sustain. Consequently when guidelines are considered so too should the flow on affect to those who must implement them.
Peter Hill, Rory Nathan, Phillip Jordan, Mark Pearse
This paper outlines the development and application of the Risk Analysis Prioritisation Tool (RAPT) which has been developed as an interactive tool to aid dam safety risk management. RAPT allows the risk profile and prioritisation of upgrades to be incrementally updated as inputs are refined. The paper outlines some of the requirements of a risk management tool and the resulting functionality of RAPT and the lessons learnt from its application to more than 75 dams.
Issues covered include: