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.
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When undertaking a program of quantitative surveillance of dams the potential to make expensive decisions based on inaccurate and/or inappropriate data always exists. The implementation of a ‘quality’ based system of quantitative surveillance as identified in the ANCOLD Guidelines On Dam Safety Management 2003 can reduce the likelihood of making these inappropriate decisions.
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.
Ridges Basin Dam is part of the Animas-La Plata Project. When topped out in approximately 2008, it will be Reclamation’s newest dam. It will have a structural height of 273 feet and impound 120,000 acre-feet of water. This paper will discuss the design of the embankment and will detail the site geology, the general design considerations for layout and zoning, and other technical considerations. The construction, which began in 2004, is ongoing. This paper will also discuss foundation treatment and cleanup, the placement of the embankment material, grouting, and the unusual material processing for filters and drains, along with general construction details. Also included in the paper are the challenging arrangements for contracting by the American Indian Self Determination and Education Assistance Law, an overview of the dam safety risk analyses conducted on the yet-to-be-constructed embankment, and modern construction techniques being utilized to build the embankment.
Malcolm Barker, Barry Vivian and David S. Bowles
Ross River Dam is located approximately 15 km upstream of Townsville and provides a dual role of water supply and flood mitigation. The dam comprises a 39.6m long concrete overflow spillway flanked by a central core rockfill embankment of 300 m in length with a 7,620 m long left bank earth fill embankment, which has inadequate internal filter zones for piping protection. Since completion, design rainfall predictions for the area have doubled, technical data has changed and so, too, have dam safety standards. Dam safety evaluations during 2000-2002 showed that the dam required upgrading in order to bring it up to international standards. As an interim measure, the spillway was cut down by 3.6m.
Upgrade design works were then completed using risk-based design criteria to validate the design, and construction is in progress. The upgrade works comprise spillway anchoring, installation of three radial gates on the spillway, stilling basin modifications, embankment filter protection, and dam crest raising.
This paper presents the options considered, the method of reliability analysis, and how the results influenced the spillway system design and overall risk evaluation for the upgrade design.
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.