George Bolliger and Clare Bales
Traditionally, the dams engineering profession has been a career path for engineers of civil/structural or geotechnical persuasion. As dams are constructed there is understandably a predominate focus on the civil requirements. Beyond the first few years of the dam’s life, effective operation and maintenance becomes increasingly important. A number of mechanical/electrical components and plant items form part of the critical infrastructure of the dam. A good maintenance routine is an essential requirement of the dam safety management program.
State Water Corporation, as the owner of 20 large dams and over 280 weir and regulator structures, runs a dam safety management program that is in line with the Australian National Committee on Large Dams Guidelines and NSW Dams Safety Committee requirements. The maintenance procedures and outcomes are audited through an internal maintenance audit program.
The maintenance audits form an integral part of the total asset management plan as well as the dam safety program. They are used to identify areas of strength as well as common errors or defects. Using State Water’s internal maintenance audits as case studies, the paper elaborates the role of maintenance audit program in enabling a cultural change to further include mechanical/electrical aspects and thereby enhance the longevity and safety of the assets.
Cultural Change – A Mechanical Perspective on Dam Safety Management
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Krey Price, Mike Harvey, Bob Mussetter, Stuart Trabant
The California Department of Water Resources, Division of Dam Safety (DWR-DSD), has determined that San Clemente Dam on the Carmel River in Monterey County, California, does not meet seismic safety standards. Several alternatives have been considered to decommission the dam and eliminate the hazard, including thickening of the 25-m-high, concrete arch structure, lowering the dam, and complete removal. At the present time, the upstream reservoir that had an original storage capacity of about 1.8 GL, is essentially filled with sediment. The 29-km reach of the Carmel River between the dam and the Pacific Ocean passes through urbanised areas within the upscale Carmel Valley; flooding and channel stability in these areas are significant concerns. The Carmel River also contains habitat for the endangered steelhead and red-legged frog that could be positively or negatively affected by the decommissioning.
After an extensive series of hydraulic and sediment transport modelling studies, two actions remain under consideration: (1) dam thickening, which will require reconstruction of the existing fish ladder and construction of an adjacent, 3-metre diameter sluice gate to prevent sediment build-up from blocking the ladder outlet, and (2) removal of the dam and rerouting the river into a tributary branch of the reservoir, which would isolate approximately 65 percent of the existing sediment deposits from future river flows and eliminate a significant fish-passage problem. Both options were modelled extensively in hydrologic, hydraulic, and sediment transport applications. Since available models do not adequately represent sediment dynamics at the sluice gate, a special sediment routing model was formulated to evaluate this aspect of Option 1. Option 2 is currently preferred by the resource agencies, since it would optimise endangered species habitat; however, this option would be three to four times more expensive than Option 1, and funding limitations may impact the alternative selection. Evaluation efforts are ongoing, along with approaches to address liability issues associated with the decommissioning actions for the privately owned facility, while optimising the benefits and costs of the selected action.
Modelling Studies to Design and Assess Decommissioning Actions for a Seismically Unsafe, Concrete Arch Dam
The enlargement of the Cotter Dam is being undertaken by ACTEW to provide a greater security of water supply to Canberra. The project involves constructing a larger, higher new dam wall immediately downstream of the existing Cotter Dam, to allow the present dam to continue functioning and supplying water while construction is underway. The project raised a number of environmental issues partly because the Cotter Dam currently supports a self-sustaining population of (endangered) Macquarie Perch, and because the Bendora Dam, upstream of Cotter Dam, contains a breeding population of (endangered) Trout Cod. Bendora Dam will not be physically affected by the works on Cotter Dam, but its operations may be altered. An ecological risk analysis was conducted to identify critical environmental risks that would need to be investigated and managed or ameliorated and management strategies were put in place to reduce risks. ACTEW have adopted an adaptive management approach to the project, but in order to implement that approach it is necessary to conduct effective monitoring of the fish populations of concern. These potentially include the two endangered species, as well as potential predators (such as cormorants) and competitors (such as trout). Power analysis has been used as a tool to evaluate whether it is feasible to monitor key populations sufficiently rigorously to be able to confidently detect a change (either an increase or decrease in a population). For Macquarie Perch and trout it should be possible to detect population changes statistically with a logistically feasible monitoring program.
2011 – Using risk analysis, power analysis and adaptive management to minimise ecological impacts of the Cotter Dam enlargement
Malcolm Barker, Toby Loxton
The Gladstone Area Water Board (GAWB) owns and operates Awoonga Dam, which is a concrete-faced rock fill embankment with a fixed crest concrete spillway on the left bank impounding a storage volume of 770,000 ML.
The current arrangement can accommodate the Probable Maximum Flood, allowing for flow over Saddles 3, 4 and 6 on the left abutment. A comprehensive study was carried out to evaluate the erosion potential downstream from Saddles 3 and 6 as well as other spillway options adjacent to the existing dam. One option was a radical approach including the removal of the Saddle Dam 3 and provision of downstream erosion protection works. This reduced the PAR and improved the overall dam flood capacity; however concerns were expressed about the environmental impact of possible erosion downstream from Saddle 3 for relatively frequent events.
A risk assessment showed that the erosion protection works downstream from the Saddle 3 or 6 were not cost effective and the preferred option for the upgrade was the closure of the Saddle Dam 3 with an auxiliary spillway created in Saddle 6,
This paper summarises the methods used and the outcomes from this study.
2011 – Awoonga Dam Acceptable Flood Capacity design – the anguish of erosion risk and implications for design
John Grimston, Robin Dawson
The Ambuklao and Binga Hydro-Electric Power Projects are located in Luzon, Philippines and were privatised in early 2008 after public bidding. Ambuklao dam forms an impoundment on the Agno River. The nearest city, Baguio, is approximately 45km or 1.5hrs drive away. The key headworks feature is an embankment central core rockfill dam and reaches a maximum height of some 129 m above the bed of the Agno River. A gated spillway is located at the left abutment, with a steep chute and flip bucket. Binga dam forms an impoundment approximately 20 km downstream of the Ambuklao dam. The rockfill embankment with an inclined clay core reaches a height of about 107 m above the bed of the Agno River. The spillway is located at the left abutment.
Heavy tropical rains and typhoons can cause very high flows in the rivers leading into the Ambuklao and Binga reservoirs. PMF peak flow is 11,600 cumecs. Due to the steep slopes surrounding the reservoir and along the access roads to the Binga Dam, landslides can create a hazard in the reservoir or for emergency access to the dam. There are numerous active faults in the area, including the Abra, Digdig and Philippines Faults (the latter being one of the most active faults around the Philippines). The region around the dams is capable of and has experienced earthquakes with a magnitude of 7.8 on the Richter Scale. This was demonstrated by the 1990 earthquake (7.8 magnitude) and caused minor damage to the dam structures.
The Project owner commenced rehabilitation implementation planning immediately after purchasing the facilities aimed at reactivating the Ambuklao plant’s 75MW capacity (inoperable since 1999 due to reservoir siltation issues triggered by the 1990 earthquake) and increasing it to 105MW. Rehabilitation at the Binga plant will increase capacity from it’s current 100MW to 120MW. The overall rehabilitation works include plant, intakes, associated tunnels, etc. This paper will focus primarily on the dam and spillway related rehabilitation, studies and design including review of the PMF and spillway capacity for both dams, Ambuklao innovative upstream face rehabilitation, Ambuklao spillway studies and rehabilitation and Binga spillway works and reservoir sedimentation studies.
2011 – Refurbishment of Ambuklao and Binga Hydro Power Dams and Appurtenant Works
Stuart Richardson,Tusitha Karunaratne
Goulburn-Murray Water (G-MW) manages 16 large dams across Northern Victoria. Since January 2010 after 10 years of continuous drought a number of significant and historic maximum floods were passed through some of these dams. Although these floods are not considered extreme in a dam safety context, for downstream communities they presented very real emergency situations. There has been significant community concern regarding the impact of the floods resulting in several inquiries.
G-MW has maintained and annually reviewed comprehensive Dam Safety Emergency Management Plans (DSEP) since 1997. During 2009 G-MW began developing and documenting a systemised approach to dam’s management, operation and emergency response by developing and integrating its Operations and Maintenance Manuals, Flood Incident Management Plans and Dam Safety Emergency Management Plans. The plans have been developed to align with the Australian Inter Service Incident Management System (AIIMS) which G-MW uses as its corporate incident response framework.
This paper provides an overview of the benefits of having structured and integrated manuals and response plans for managing assets, flood and extreme events. The paper also shares G-MW’s experiences in developing this integrated management approach.
Workshop paper – Karunaratne 2011 – Management of Floods in 2010 and 2011 through Goulburn-Murray Water Dams