We can all learn by our mistakes and the experience of others. This paper seeks to look at three
incidents/accidents which recently occurred in the UK so that others can learn from them. The
paper then seeks to answer the question as to whether we are improving in looking after our dams
in the UK in respect of reservoir safety.
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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.
P Amos, N Logan, and J Walker
There are a number of geological faults in close proximity to Aviemore Power Station in the South Island of New Zealand, including a fault in the foundation of the 48m high earth dam component of the power station. Possible movement of the Waitangi Fault in the earth dam foundation is of particular concern for dam safety, and the effects on the dam of a fault rupture has been the subject of detailed investigation by the dam’s owner Meridian Energy Ltd. These investigations have concluded that the dam will withstand the anticipated fault displacement related to the Safety Evaluation Earthquake without catastrophic release of the reservoir.
The identification of damage to the dam following an earthquake and monitoring of the dam to identify the development of potential failure mechanisms are important for determining the post-earthquake safety of the power station. The first stage of the post-earthquake response plan is the quick identification of any foundation fault rupture and damage to the dam to enable immediate post-earthquake mitigation measures to be initiated, such as reservoir drawdown. Following initial response, the next stage of the post-earthquake monitoring programme for the embankment dam is longer term monitoring to identify a changing seepage condition due to damage to the dam that might lead to a piping incident. Such an incident may not occur immediately after an earthquake, and it can be some time before the piping process becomes evident.
This paper presents some key instrumentation installed at Aviemore Dam and included in the emergency response plan for the post-earthquake monitoring of the embankment dam.
Manuel G. de Membrillera, Ignacio Escuder, David Bowles, Eduardo Triana, Luis Altarejos
The work herein presented is an application of the risk assessment process to retroactively estimate the justification of an operating restriction implemented on a Spanish Dam. Since the risk approach is not yet an established practice in Spain, the main objective of this case study is to show, the utility that risk assessment can have as a decision support tool for decisions on dam safety risk reduction investments.
An operating restriction has been imposed at this dam since its first impoundment. All studies, analysis and documents related to the safety of the dam and reservoir have been completed, as required by the Technical Regulation on Dam and Reservoir Safety (Spanish legislation, 1996). In addition, the structural corrective actions recommended in these evaluations are being implemented, so it is expected that the operating restriction can be removed in the near future.
In this context, the problem that has been formulated and solved comprises an evaluation, after more than 30 years since construction, of the operating restriction justification in terms of risk mitigation. In order to achieve the objective of the work, ANCOLD guidelines on Risk Assessment (2003) have been followed in addition to tolerable risk guidelines from several other countries and organizations.
This paper reviews the general principles of duty of care which assist in the understanding of responsibilities that may exist for surveillance of dam safety, including the inter-play of the common law and statutory law. Only when there is a foundation in the general principles can obligations upon dam owners/operators with respect to surveillance and instrumentation be interpreted. Some legal issues around the development and use of industry guidelines are also explored.
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.