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.
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.
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.
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:
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: