Keirnan Fowler, Peter Hill, Phillip Jordan, Rory Nathan, Kristen Sih
Although there are considerable uncertainties in the science of climate change, there is a growing recognition of the importance of the issue. Incorporation of climate change impacts is now required in policy guidance from several government authorities and it is prudent risk management to consider the effects of climate change in planning for water resource infrastructure, including assessment and design of dam upgrades. This paper describes the potential impact of climate change on extreme flood estimates and provides a case study for Dartmouth Dam in south-eastern Australia. Three inputs to flood estimation were considered according to the projected impact of climate change; namely design rainfalls, modelled losses and initial reservoir level. The relative influence of each of these factors is explored. Rainfall and losses had a similar (and opposite) influence on results and for this dam the reservoir level prior to the flood event had the largest influence on results. This case study demonstrates that the insights of climate modellers and hydrologists need to be integrated in order to provide defensible estimates of the impact of climate change in flood hydrology studies. Credible projections of changes in design rainfall intensities are required for the full range of exceedance probabilities across Australia.
Application of Available Climate Science to Assess the Impact of Climate Change on Spillway Adequacy
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Graeme Maher, Richard Herweynen, Martin Mallen-Cooper and Stuart Marshall
Increasing awareness of the environmental impact of dams means that fish passage is emerging as a critical issue for both existing and new dams in Australia.
The fish passage and outlet works for Wyaralong Dam, a new dam currently under construction, required accommodation of large ranges of head and tailwater levels. The solution that has been adopted, a bi‐directional fishlift using a single hopper with trapping for downstream fish movement occurring within the intake tower, is a world first. The solution required the innovative integration of a number of existing technologies to create a system which is necessarily complex, yet reliable and effective.
The paper incorporates discussion of the critical design constraints, the biology of fish passage, the process adopted to reach the concept solution and a description of the final design including its integration with the outlet works. A number of design issues and their solution are discussed in detail, particularly those associated with dealing with the complexity of the design constraints and how the components of the solution were integrated into a seamless design.
The paper will be of use to those involved in the process of providing fish passage on both existing and new structures that obstruct river flow.
A Bi-Directional Fishlift – An Innovative Solution for Fish Passage
David Ryan, Sean Fleming
The Connors River Dam and Pipeline Project comprises the construction of a 367,540 ML storage on the Connors River located in central Queensland and a 130 km pipeline capable of delivering annually 49,500 ML of high priority water to the rapidly expanding Central Queensland Coalfields. The dam also has the capacity to supply water for the downstream agricultural sector.
Key outcomes of SunWater’s recent business case investigations included the identification of a strategy that would deliver the project in parallel with the construction programs currently being developed by the coal mining sector, the delivery of a quality product with high certainty cost and the ability to supply water at a commercially attractive rate. Construction activity is currently scheduled to commence in mid 2011, with commissioning of the works early 2014.
The paper outlines the project details, the design features of the dam and pipeline and the contract strategy adopted in an attempt to deliver the project on time and within budget.
Keywords: Roller Compacted Concrete, Early Contractor Involvement, Design and Construction.
Rick Friedel, Len Murray, Gerrad Suter, James Penman, James Watt, Hendra Jitno
The Hidden Valley tailings storage facility (TSF) has set a new precedent in environmental management of tailings in Papua New Guinea (PNG). Modern mining in PNG arguably began with the development of Bougainville Copper in the late 1960s, and continued through to Ok Tedi, Porgera, Lihir, Misima (and others). These mines have proceeded with deep sea or riverine tailings deposition, rather than construction of a tailings dam to retain the mine waste within an impoundment; as is the practice throughout the majority of the mining industry.
The Hidden Valley TSF is comprised of two large earth and rock fill dams, raised by the downstream method. Starter dam construction was completed in 2009. At final height the Main Dam will be one of the highest tailings dams in the world. The dams are constructed of pit waste and therefore have the dual function of storing tailings and waste rock.
Construction of the starter dams and subsequent raises is complicated by conditions at the site. Water management was, and remains, the dominant issue. High rainfall, weak erosive soils, material availability, dense vegetation and remoteness of the site provide constant challenges to construction. The Observational Approach to construction was recommended by the designers and adopted by the mine operator. This involves a knowledgeable pre-assessment of what is likely to change and having contingency plans to deal with possible major issues. This approach allows changes to the design during construction so the “as-built” product is suited for the site, fit for purpose, and remains consistent with the overall intent of the design.
The TSF has been in operation since August 2009 and monitoring data of the structures has been collected during construction and operation. This data is reviewed to confirm design assumptions and assess dam performance.
Personnel involved with this project combined their experiences working in the PNG environment and dam building from other locations. This process led to close interaction between the mine operators, designers and construction teams. Team work and diligent construction practices were and will continue to be necessary to construct and operate the pioneering TSF in PNG.
David Scriven, Errol Beitz, Aaron Elphinstone
The Bowen River Weir is located at AMTD 94.4 km on the Bowen River, some 25 km south of Collinsville in North Queensland. The weir is part of the Bowen/Broken Rivers Water Supply Scheme and it provides a pumping pool for pipelines serving two nearby coal mining developments and a power station, and also acts as a regulator for riparian water users downstream until it meets the Burdekin River.
The weir was constructed in 1982 and incorporated a fishway towards the southern (left) bank, the design of which was based on the old “pool and weir” fish ladder type layout, typical of that era, with 48 separate cells containing partial vertical slots and baffles. This design has since been found to be ineffective for Australian native fish. In addition it was often out of service due to cells becoming filled with river sediment and debris. For these reasons it was decommissioned and made safe in late 2008 on the condition that a new fishway be constructed.
In late 2008 agreement was reached with Fisheries Queensland to install a “fish lock” type fishway at the site. This type of fishway has in recent years proved to be reliable and effective (eg. successful fish locks at Neville Hewitt and Claude Wharton Weirs). The preliminary and then final design was undertaken by SunWater (Infrastructure Development) between September 2008 and March 2009. The construction was undertaken by SunWater direct management, commencing in July 2009 and completed in late 2010.
Bowen River Weir Fishway – Design and Construction
Hamish Smith, Graeme Maher
In order to achieve environmental sustainability it has become standard engineering practice to include a fishway on all new or refurbished large dams in Australia.
As regulators expand their understanding of fishways, project approval conditions associated with these complex engineering structures are changing. Regulators now increasingly wish to participate in the development and selection of the final fishway to be adopted.
This paper describes the process developed and implemented at Queensland’s most recent dam under construction, the Wyaralong Dam, to ensure that the views and opinions of regulators and stakeholders were sought and considered during the fishway selection and design process.
With no written guidelines available on “how to select and design a suitable fishway”, all associated parties entered into the process without a full knowledge of how it would unfold and what the final outcome would be.
This paper demonstrates that in an increasingly regulated environment it is possible to have regulators, proponents and stakeholders work cooperatively together to achieve a result that provides for sustainable development and is acceptable to all parties.
This paper will provide a model that could be adopted for the development of new fishways or the refurbishment of existing fishways on large dams in Australasia.
Changing Regulatory Environment – Large Dams and Fishways