Peter A Ballantine, Christopher V Seddon
Massingir Dam, constructed in the late 1970’s on the Olifants River in Mozambique, is a 48 m high zoned earthfill dam. Due to various safety concerns, the dam was operated at a reduced full supply level of 110 masl, compared to the design full supply level of 125 masl. Between 2004 and 2006 remedial works were undertaken, including the construction of a berm on the downstream face of the dam, grouting and drainage of the foundations and installation of the spillway crest gates. From December 2005 the storage level of the dam was allowed to increase.
On 22 May 2008, with the reservoir storage level at 122.43 masl and the gates on the outlet conduits closed, the reinforced concrete conduits failed at the downstream end, releasing an estimated 1,000 m3 /s of water into the Olifants River.
A 2-D finite element analysis was undertaken in order to establish the safe load bearing capacity of the as-constructed conduits. On the basis of the analysis, it was concluded that the original design did not take proper account of the pressure that would develop within the thick concrete sections of the conduit. In view of assumptions regarding the load paths, the reinforcement was not placed in the most appropriate positions.
This paper describes the events leading up to the failure of the conduit, presents the findings of the investigation into the failure and makes recommendations on the basis of the findings.
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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
Jiri Herza, Nihal Vitharana, Alex Gower
The Western Australia Water Corporation plans to increase the storage capacity of Millstream Dam, which is located near Bridgetown in the south west region of WA. The existing dam is an 18 m high zoned earthfill embankment constructed in 1962. The dam suffered a block heave of the foundation at the downstream toe during the first filling, probably attributable to high foundation pore water pressures. The dam upgrade will be challenging due to complex and unfavourable foundation soils coupled with these artesian pressures.
The dam is founded on lateritic soil, which is a common weathering profile throughout the region. These soils formed in a tropical environment of fluctuating water tables, severe leaching and translocation of iron oxides over many millions of years. As a consequence some of the lateritic horizons at Millstream Dam have been modified such that they exhibit behaviours that are not consistent with conventional constitutive models and correlations. These are attributed to a complex structure of the soil microfabric, which comprises clay particles bonded together into larger aggregates. The clayey aggregates are also bonded to each other, forming a porous matrix of silty or sandy appearance characterized by low dry density and high void ratio, which may nevertheless disintegrate on working.
Comprehensive geotechnical investigations and extensive laboratory testing have revealed that the foundation materials display characteristics of clayey and granular soils. Under shearing, these soils demonstrate high initial strength, which gradually reduces as the inter-aggregate bonds are broken and the relative position of the aggregates changes. Several soil samples also exhibited significant contractive behaviour on shearing generating high pore pressures under undrained conditions.
This paper presents the investigation and design methods used in the foundation design of the Millstream Dam upgrade with emphasis on unusual behaviour of the foundation media.
Challenges in dam design on lateritic soils
Karen Riddette, David Ho
Recent dam safety reviews of a number of Australian dams have identified that the arms of raised radial gates may be partially submerged by extreme flows which exceed the original design flood for the dam. Various design solutions have been proposed to secure and strengthen the radial gates, however an important concern is the potential for flow-induced vibration. Under extreme flood conditions, flows near the gate arms will be high-velocity, free-surface, with a steep angle of attack on the arm beams. Traditional hand calculations for computing vibrations are of limited applicability in this situation, and there is little published data available for this combination of flow conditions and arm geometry. A detailed study using CFD modelling of the potential for vibration around radial gate arms was carried out for Wyangala Dam. This paper presents the results of the validation and reveals some interesting flow patterns and vortex shedding behaviour.
Assessment of flow-induced vibration in radial gates during extreme flood
An essential criterion for any new dam project in Australia is to provide for passage of fish past the structure in both the upstream and downstream direction. In recent projects with a relatively high barrier this has been provided by mechanised systems such as locks, lifts or a combination of both.
A nature-like fishway provides for passage of fish past a barrier by applying some of the features of natural streams. The concept has been increasingly applied to fishway designs in North America and Europe. A nature-like fishway will provide variable flow depths, velocities and turbulence across its width and along its length and is constructed using natural materials to simulate the natural stream characteristics. The variable flow conditions coupled with the use of natural materials inherently result in different channel substrates that support the passage of a large range and size of fish species as well as other aquatic species. Where fish habitat has been depleted, a nature-like fishway can also supplement and enhance aquatic habitat.
The performance of nature-like fishways can be difficult to quantify due the very nature of the system. However, qualitative assessments in North America are indicating that a wide range of species are using such fishways and that fish species that were previously extirpated from rivers are again migrating.
The nature-like fishway concept has been applied to in-stream structures up to four metres high in the eastern states of Australia. However, the substantial progress made with this design in North America and Europe has not as yet been applied in this country.
This paper analyses the advantages and disadvantages of nature-like fishways over mechanised systems, such as locks and lifts, and makes an assessment of the suitability of the concept to dams in Australia with relatively high walls.
C.Johnson, D.Stephens, M.Arnold and N.Vitharana
As part of Melbourne Water’s dam safety upgrade program, emergency release capacity is being investigated at a number of dams. Recent work undertaken by the Water Resources Alliance (WRA) for Melbourne Water has highlighted the lack of current Australian guidelines for appropriate emergency release capacity. With no relevant ANCOLD Guidelines, current practice still references the 1990 USBR guidelines which relate the length of time to empty a reservoir to the hazard and risk associated with dam failure. As hazard category assessment criteria has been improved since and dam design and safety standards are more stringent, the applicability of the USBR criteria in today’s environment is under consideration.
With the prevailing climatic conditions requiring the augmentation of Melbourne’s water supplies, the Tarago Reservoir was recently brought back into service. However, the dam lacked adequate emergency and environmental release capacity, with this being critical to manage construction flood risk for a pending filter raising project. Through an analysis of recorded inflow data, it was evident the existing scour facility had insufficient capacity to handle the recorded inflows, and would not be able to maintain the reservoir at an appropriate level during the proposed works. The length of time to empty the reservoir for the existing scour facility and the preferred scour upgrade option were calculated and it was found that by providing a new 1200mm scour facility, USBR emptying times were met or exceeded. The enlarged outlet capacity was also required to meet the new environmental flow requirements for the dam.
The paper will review international guidelines, share the experience of several Australian water authorities in assigning emergency release capacity for their dams, and discuss the specific work undertaken to provide suitable emergency release capacity at Tarago Reservoir for Melbourne Water.