N. Vitharana, G. McNally, C. Johnson, A. Thomas, K. Dart and P. Russell
Millbrook Reservoir is an offline storage with an earthen embankment dam containing a puddle clay core and a moderately sized upstream catchment. The dam is 31m high and has a capacity of 16.5 GL when the storage water level is at the Full SupplyLevel (FSL). The reservoir is 25km NE of Adelaide on Chain of Ponds Creek, a tributary of the River Torrens. The dam was constructed during the years 1914-1918. Earthworks were carried out only during summer as the five winters during the construction period were very wet.
Dam safety reviews and geotechnical investigations, undertaken between 2001 and 2004 by SKM, showed that these winter recesses would have created weak layers, increasing the potential for piping due to the lack of a filter. This was highlighted by the large deformations which occurred at the end of construction in 1918. The spillway was assessed as able to pass a flood event with AEP of 1:1,300,000. Given the location of the dam, ANCOLD(2000b) Guidelines suggest the dam should be able to safely pass the PMF flood event. Accordingly, the dam required upgrading to modern guidelines.
The 2005 detailed design of the upgrade included the construction of a 70m wide unlined spillway, construction of filters on the downstream face of the dam with a stabilisation (weighting) fill, installation of instrumentation and seismic protection of the outlet tower. The construction of these works is currently underway.
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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.
B Simmons, N Mudge
In 2004 the NSW Government released its Metropolitan Water Plan (MWP). This plan detailed the government’s initiatives to secure Sydney’s water needs during the current drought and into the future. The MWP outlined a range of both demand and supply side measures. These included modification to Warragamba and Nepean dams so that the water at the bottom of the dams that is currently unavailable for water supply can be accessed.
Accessing this deep water will increase the available water supply by an additional six months in the immediate drought and will provide, on average, an additional 40GL/annum to our long term available water supply.
The Warragamba Dam Deep Water Access Project involves accessing and transferring water from deep in Warragamba Dam to the existing water supply system.
Phase One of the project saw an abandoned underground pumping station 1.5km downstream of the dam wall, being enlarged and upgraded to pump water from the low level pipeline into the existing water transfer pipelines.
Phase Two of the project involved making a penetration low on the dam wall, some ninety metres below full storage level to access the deep water. This enabled the water to flow into the new pumping station, through an existing underground pipeline.
This project and in particular Phase Two was extremely unique due to the saturation diving systems and specialist tooling systems needed to create the penetration in the dam wall. The project provides a reference point for the water industry for future similar works.
This paper describes the project that was initiated at Warragamba Dam to access the deep water and is focused on the extremely difficult and unique works associated with creating the low level penetration in the dam wall.
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.
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.
Michael Somerford, Alex Gower
The Water Corporation is the principal dam owner in Western Australian with a portfolio of 95 dams. In the absence of dam safety legislation in Western Australia the Corporation has adopted a policy of self regulation. This paper presents how the Corporation’s dam safety policy has been implemented with respect to dam instrumentation and monitoring. It includes a summary of the type of instruments used and experiences with automated data collection systems. The paper concludes that the Corporation does not see a need for a dam instrumentation guideline, however a document summarising current Australian practices and experiences would be of value.