Internal erosion and piping within embankment dams may initiate in cracks caused by differential settlement or desiccation, in cracks caused by hydraulic fracture and in very poorly compacted layers of soil. It generally cannot occur unless one of these defects is present because backwards erosion, the other mechanism for internal erosion, will not occur in embankments under normal gradients and will not occur in cohesive soils unless gradients are exceptionally high.
As a result it is very unlikely that it will be possible to detect initiation of erosion with piezometers, and the most likely successful method is seepage observation and monitoring. However the time from the first detection of increased seepage to breach of the dam may be very short-a matter of hours in some situations.
Thoughtfully positioned and read piezometers are more likely to be successful in identifying the critical gradients which may lead to the onset of backwards erosion in cohesionless soils in the foundation of dams.
Piezometers are more useful in establishing the pore pressures for use in analysis of stability, but in most cases where stability is marginal undrained strength analysis is required and the pore pressures and effective strengths alone are not sufficient to assess stability. In a number of cases differential settlements, and acceleration of settlements have proven valuable in detecting the on-set of instability and the conditions in which internal erosion and piping to initiate. Once these conditions are recognised more detailed survey monitoring and borehole inclinometers can be valuable in better defining the geometry of instability.
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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 Allen, Malcolm Barker, Shane McGrath and Chris Topham
Are we there Yet? The question we all ask in Tolerability of Risk. The answer is in the journey, which we are all on as owners, regulators or designers.
A number of authorities in Australia are applying risk assessment for the evaluation of dam safety upgrades in accordance with the October 2003 ANCOLD Guidelines on Risk Assessment. A fundamental requirement for the evaluation of risk below the limit of tolerability is the use of the As Low As Reasonably Practicable(ALARP) principle. In making a judgement as to whether an ALARP position may have been reached, ANCOLD suggest the evaluation of a Cost to Save a Statistical Life, good practice, level of existing risk, social concerns, affordability and duration of risk. ANCOLD also suggests consideration of the USBR Criteria for evaluating risk. Recent guidelines on the Acceptable Flood Capacity for Dams developed by the Queensland Dam Safety Regulator provide further insight into the application of ALARP.
The objective of the paper is to make dam owners, regulators and designers aware of some current practice regarding the evaluation of ALARP in Australia, highlight the challenges of applying this principle and to encourage further discussion.
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.
Legal and moral requirements necessitate an “equivalent to industry standard” approach to dam management by all dam owners. As an urban authority Central Highlands Water has a portfolio of dams with a broad range of classification and risk. ANCOLD Guidelines form the basis of our approach to dam management. Thus any guidelines developed can have significant affect on our budget and operation. Guidelines with requirements targeted at extreme and high hazard dams managed by large authorities with “deep pockets” may not be reasonable to impose upon low risk structures managed by lesser authorities. This does not mean smaller authorities want to do it on the “cheap” but budgets for such infrastructure can be hard to sustain. Consequently when guidelines are considered so too should the flow on affect to those who must implement them.
Karen Riddette, David Ho & Julie Edwards
Over the last five years in Australia, the use of computational fluid dynamics for the investigation of water flows through hydraulic structures has been steadily rising. This modelling technique has been successfully applied to a range of dam upgrade projects, helping to assess spillway discharge capacity and structural integrity, and giving insight into flow behaviours including orifice flow, shock wave formation and chute overtopping (Ho et al, 2006). Innovative and cost effective upgrade solutions have been implemented from numerical model studies including baffle plates (Maher and Rodd, 2005) and locking arrangements to protect radial gates from extreme floods.
This paper will begin with a review of recent dam engineering applications, including outlet flow through a fish screen, the performance of a fishway against hydraulic and environmental criteria and pipe flow in a large pumping station. Some of the difficulties and limitations of the modelling technique will be examined together with current research being conducted to address these issues and further validate the numerical results against published data. Some interesting results to date will be reported on elliptical crest discharge, boundary geometry, and model/prototype correlation.
With increasing computing power and software enhancements, the potential applications for numerical simulation in dam engineering continue to grow. This paper will also examine the future outlook and highlight some recent advances such as the thermal simulation of cold water pollution, air entraining flows and combined free-surface and pipe flow in a morning glory spillway.