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.
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.
David S. Bowles
Portfolio Risk Management is a risk-informed approach for improved management of dam safety for a portfolio of dams in the context of the owner’s business. It can be used to identify ways to strengthen technical and organisational aspects of a dam safety program, and to provide valuable inputs to various business processes. Portfolio Risk Assessment is a decision-support tool, which is incorporated in Portfolio Risk Management. It can combine engineering standards and risk assessment approaches to provide a systematic means for identifying, estimating and evaluating dam safety risks, including comparisons with other industries. It should be periodically updated to provide a basis for managing prioritised queues of investigations and risk-reduction measures to achieve more rapid and cost-effective reduction of both knowledge uncertainty and risk.
Portfolio Risk Assessment is a standard of practice in Australia and is being applied by the US Army Corps of Engineers and others. When properly conducted and used within its limitations, the Portfolio Risk Assessment process is generally considered to be robust, adaptive, defensible for corporate governance, and to justify its cost through such benefits as increased dam safety funding, identification of failure modes that were not previously recognised, identification of opportunities for improved risk management, and more rapid “knowledge uncertainty” and risk reduction.
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.
Karen Riddette, David Ho & Julie Edwards
Over the last five years in Australia, the use of computational fluid dynamics for the investigation of waterflows through hydraulic structures has been steadily rising. This modelling technique has been successfully applied to a range of dam upgrade projects, helping to assess spillway discharge capacity and structural integrity, and giving insight into flow behaviours including orifice flow, shock wave formation and chute overtopping (Ho et al, 2006). Innovative and cost effective upgrade solutions have been implemented from numerical model studies including baffle plates (Maher and Rodd, 2005) and locking arrangements to protect radial gates from extreme floods.
This paper will begin with a review of recent dam engineering applications, including outlet flow through a fish screen, the performance of a fishway against hydraulic and environmental criteria and pipe flow in a large pumping station. Some of the difficulties and limitations of the modelling technique will be examined together with current research being conducted to address these issues and further validate the numerical results against published data. Some interesting results to date will be reported on elliptical crest discharge, boundary geometry, and model/prototype correlation.
With increasing computing power and software enhancements, the potential applications for numerical simulation in dam engineering continue to grow. This paper will also examine the future outlook and highlight some recent advances such as the thermal simulation of cold water pollution, air entraining flows and combined free-surface and pipe flow in a morning glory spillway.
Nerida Bartlett, David Scriven, Peter Richardson
The failure of a number of consecutive wet seasons has resulted in storage levels in Eungella Dam being at dangerously low levels such that supply could be exhausted by June 2007. Eungella Dam supplies bulk water to the Bowen Basin coal fields as well as the Collinsville power station and the Collinsville township.
The Collinsville township, power station and coal mine as well as the Newlands mines take water from the Bowen River Weir which is supplied from Eungella Dam some 95 kilometres upstream. Transmission losses of the order of 25 to 50% have been experienced for releases from Eungella Dam to Bowen River Weir.
The Eungella Dam catchment area is 142 square kilometres. Significant flows occur in the Bowen River downstream of Eungella Dam, the catchment area above Bowen River Weir being 4,520 square kilometres. The topography in the surrounding area (near Collinsville) is not suitable for dam construction.
The opportunity existed for the construction of an offstream storage adjacent to the Bowen River Weir so that the downstream flows could be captured reducing the demand on Eungella Dam thus making more water available for upstream users.
A 5,200 ML offstream storage, associated pump station and rising main was designed, constructed and filled within a period of 12 months.
Foundations at the site are highly permeable sands. Marginally suitable clay for a seal was in short supply as was suitable rock for slope protection. A fixed price budget had been set by the contributing customers.
This paper describes the hydrology, site conditions, design and construction of the project.