Mark Locke and Scott Kindred
The Bulk Water Alliance (BWA) consisting of ACTEW and ACTEW-AGL, GHD, and John Holland / Abigroup, are delivering the Enlarged Cotter Dam project in Canberra, ACT. The greatly enlarged reservoir will require two central core rockfill saddle dams on a ridge adjacent to the main dam site. Construction of these two dams was completed in early 2011. The challenges of the site and the Alliance delivery model have provided opportunities for innovation in both use of materials and construction.
The dam foundations were variably weathered and fractured with some highly weathered seams extending below the cutoff trench foundation. The foundation was grouted effectively using GIN grouting and the entire cutoff trench was shotcreted to reduce the risk of piping of the dispersive core material.
The steep topography provided very limited sources of material suitable for a dam core. Potential contingency plans considered included bentonite enrichment of the low plasticity materials or a change to a concrete faced rockfill dam. The high cost of these options drove the decision to use the available residual soils from small gullies by selectively winning material with a higher fines content for use below full supply level. The lack of room on the ridge for stockpiling and conditioning of clays lead to trialling of a continuous mixer for mixing and conditioning the core which was found to be highly successful.
Filter materials were crushed sands and gravels produced from nearby commercial quarries. The materials and grading were generally high quality, with some challenges producing coarser filter materials by blending available aggregate products. A range of options were effectively adopted for placement of the filters including loader placement, trench boxes and spreading from a modified ejector dump truck.
Enlarged Cotter Dam Saddle Dams – Materials and Construction
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Rory Nathan, Peter Hill
This paper provides an overview of the different simulation frameworks used for the estimation of design floods.. For small events the behaviour of many flood modifying factors is highly variable and chaotic, whereas as the magnitude of the event increases so does the organising influence of the dominant meteorologic conditions. The approach to design flood estimation will depend upon the availability of data and the exceedance probabilities of interest. The techniques can vary from frequency analysis of the data recorded at a site to rainfall-runoff modelling with design rainfall inputs derived from regional frequency analysis. For extreme floods, which are of relevance for assessing flood loadings for dams and the assessment of spillway adequacy, the stochastic (Monte Carlo) approach offers a number of advantages over the traditional deterministic approach. Although there has been significant progress in design flood estimation practice in Australia over the last couple of decades there remains many significant research and training needs.
Kirsty Carroll, Kelly Maslin, Richard Rodd
Melbourne Water manages over 210 retarding basins across Greater Melbourne ranging in size from 4ML to 4700 ML with embankment heights from 0.3m to 10m. Over the years the basins have been designed and constructed by a range of different owners and authorities. Varying design and construction standards with the majority of retarding basins generally being located in highly urbanised areas, has resulted in Melbourne Water having a large portfolio of assets that have potential to pose a significant risk to the downstream communities they are designed to protect.
High level hazard category assessments completed over the last10 years identified that approximately 90 structures were either High or Extreme hazard categories based on the ANCOLD Guidelines on Assessment of the Consequences of Dam Failure.
In an attempt to identify retarding basins requiring priority consideration for remedial works Melbourne Water embarked on a process of completing a dam safety risk assessment for five of the retarding basins in accordance with the ANCOLD Guidelines on Risk Assessment. The objective of the risk assessment was to develop an understanding of the key risk issues that might affect retarding basins as distinct from water supply storages, identify potential remedial works and develop a prioritised risk management strategy for the five basins considered. In completing the risk assessment there was also significant discussion about ways to streamline the process to allow assessment of the remaining basins.
This paper details the results obtained from the risk assessment, investigates the application of the base safety condition and implementation of a risk management strategy. It also looks at similarities between sites to enable common upgrades to be implemented across the range of retarding basins. This paper also discusses the need for guidelines specific to retarding basins to be developed.
How do you solve a problem like retarding basins? An asset owner’s perspective
G. Hadzilacos, ML. Ng, K. Taske, A. Small and B. Loney
Alteration of flow patterns by constructing a dam may have an irreversible impact on ecosystems depending on the timing, duration and frequency of these flows. As part of an Environmental Impact Study, carried out for a proposed mining operation in Australia that included an earth dam on a pristine ephemeral creek, an appropriate waterway management scheme was proposed that required the establishment of measurable instream flow requirements. This paper describes an environmental flow analysis (EFA) carried out to identify flow regimes that achieve the desired ecological outcomes for the affected waterways. The EFA methodology was based on the range-of-variability approach using a calibrated rainfall-runoff model to form the hydrologic basis. The study established a relationship between flow components and ecological variables based upon which the flow requirements were estimated using a simple methodology.
2011 – A case study of an initial Environmental Flows Assessment for an earth dam on a pristine stream in Cape York
The large flood inundating areas of Brisbane and Ipswich along the lower Brisbane River below Wivenhoe Dam in January 2011 was extensively reported by the media. An independent Commission of Inquiry was formed soon after the flood with broad terms of reference including matters related to dam operations. Prior to the Inquiry hearings and findings, reporting in the media continued and made strong allegations of blame of the flood on dam operations. The media relied on limited expertise but the articles were portrayed and subsequently re-produced by other media outlets as ‘expert’ analyses. The author’s interpretation is that media claims were misleading and damaging to the public confidence in the role of dams for flood mitigation, and this damage occurred before official Inquiry findings were available.
A brief summary is presented of now publicly available credible reports on the flood event, and a summary is also presented of the key matters and allegations reported in the media related to the dam operations. An analysis and commentary of media reporting on the flood operations of the Wivenhoe Dam is presented in the context of time and people with reference to information and expertise available to the media, and media conduct in relation to fair public interest and professional practice.
Matters of importance for objective and informed knowledge of key technical matters in relation to operation of dams, dam safety, and the inevitable extremes of nature and floods are discussed. The paper then examines the roles and possible limitations of dams engineering professionals in relation to media reporting of such matters.
This paper solely focuses on matters of media examination of the floods and dam operations, and generally does not comment on technical matters that are in the terms of reference of the Commission of Inquiry.
2011 – January 2011 Brisbane River Floods and Examination by Media of the Dam Operations
Simon Lang, Chriselyn Meneses, Peter Hill, Kristen Sih
In Australia to date, the empirical method developed by Graham (1999) is the most widely applied approach for estimating loss of life from dambreak flooding. However, as the move to risk-based approaches of dam safety management has gathered momentum internationally, increasingly sophisticated techniques for estimating loss of life have emerged. One of these models is the United States Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) HEC-FIA model. HEC-FIA models the influence of flooding, structure characteristics, and warning and evacuation assumptions on loss of life in a spatially distributed manner. In contrast to Graham (1999), HEC-FIA also allows the user to model the loss of life for both dambreak and natural flooding.
This paper presents the results from the first Australian application of HEC-FIA to two dams in southeast Australia. The application of empirical methods developed by Graham (2004) and Reiter (2001) is also discussed.