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
Ben Hanslow and David Brett
The Blackman Dam is a 27 m high, zoned earthfill dam located upstream of the township of Tunbridge in the Tasmanian Midlands. The dam has an estimated storage capacity of 7300 ML and an assigned Hazard Rating of High C.
The Blackman Dam was constructed over the period November 2003 to September 2004. The dam supplies water for irrigation to farms in the area and potentially to the local towns of Tunbridge and Oatlands.
Filling of the Blackman Dam commenced in 2005. After substantial filling of the dam and following a heavy rain event, an area of seepage was noted on the far left abutment of the main embankment mid morning of Thursday 13th October 2005. The seepage was reported by the dam operators as being “garden hose flow”. By mid afternoon of that day, this had increased to “100 mm pipe flow” and discoloured. The Dam Safety Emergency Plan was activated.
This paper discusses lessons learnt and provides details on the implementation of the Dam Safety Emergency Plan and emergency actions taken to successfully avoid a breach of the dam wall. The paper also provides details on the geotechnical investigations that were carried out and factors contributing to the piping failure. Embankment repairs were successfully completed by mid 2010 and first filling of the Blackman Dam occurred in 2011.
Robert Keogh, Rob Ayre, Peter Richardson, Barry Jeppesen, Olga Kakourakis
SunWater owns 23 referable dams and operates a further two dams for other owners. The dams are located across Queensland from Texas and St George in the South to the Atherton Tablelands in the north to Mt Isa in the west.
During the period December 2010 to February 2011 there were several significant rainfall events across Queensland. The first occurred in late December 2010, the second in mid January 2011 and third in early February 2011. Generally it was the most significant rainfall event in Queensland since the 1970’s. 22 Emergency Action Plans were activated simultaneously by SunWater. Eleven dams experienced a flood of record during the events.
This paper will discuss what has been learnt from these events including the optimisation of management structures for a dam owner with a large portfolio of dams: review of O&M Manuals including the adequacy of backup systems: relationships with the State disaster management framework: the value of rigorous communication protocols: managing fear and a general lack of understanding in the community: and the value of being prepared.
Workshop paper – Robert
Awoonga Dam is the sole source of water for the City of Gladstone and the heavy industries in the region. The area’s distribution reservoirs hold little more than a day’s supply. Extended water supply disruption could have severe economic impacts.
The nine large valves in the inlet tower and river outlet of the dam cannot be inspected or maintained without shutting down the entire water abstraction system. Consequentially limited maintenance has been carried out in the 25 years since the valves were installed.
Recent Dam Safety inspections carried out for the dam owner, the Gladstone Area Water Board (GAWB,) noted some deterioration of the valves and recommended that the valves should be removed, inspected and refurbished as necessary
GAWB was thus presented with a daunting challenge to refurbish valves at Awoonga Dam, as it was generally believed that their removal for refurbishment would not be possible within the time limitations imposed by the system and customer requirements.
In 2008 GAWB commissioned GHD to develop a strategy to refurbish the valves within a 12 hour shutdown period. The strategy proposed and adopted required a rigorous risk management approach and close collaboration between GAWB’s operational staff, two contractors and the consulting engineers. The work was successfully completed during 2011.
This paper discussed the strategies and processes developed and how the project planning, supervision and execution was driven by the risk management based approach. It also highlights some of the experiences and lessons learnt during the project.
2011 – Refurbishing Outlet Valves utilising Shutdown Periods
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.