2010 – Application of Available Climate Science to Assess the Impact of Climate Change on Spillway Adequacy

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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