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.
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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.
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.
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.
The Water Act 2003 established a new role for the Environment Agency, that of the Enforcement Authority for the Reservoirs Act 1975 in England and Wales. The transfer of this regulatory role from 136 Local Authorities has had a significant impact on the regulated community. Further change is heralded with the forthcoming introduction of Reservoir Flood Plans, Post-Incident Reporting and a review of current regulations. The improvements sought in reservoir safety may be at risk due to a growing skills shortage and increasing financial constraints imposed by owners.
This paper highlights the issues impacting on the reservoir industry in England and Wales and in recognising developments made by ANCOLD members the author seeks to understand how they are being responded to in Australia.
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.