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
Mojtaba E. Kan and Hossein A. Taiebat
Abstract: The simplified procedures for evaluation of earthquake induced displacement in earth and rockfill dams are widely used in practice. These methods are simple, inexpensive, and substantially less time consuming as compared to complicated numerical approaches. They are especially recommended to be used as a screening tool, to identify embankments with marginal factor of safety, assuming that these methods always give conservative estimates of deformation. However recent studies show that application of these methods may not be conservative in some cases, especially when the tuning ratio of a dam is within a certain range. In this paper the fundamental theory behind the simplified methods is critically reviewed and practical guidelines are presented that can be used to identify cases where the simplified procedures may not be conservative.
2011 – Reliability of simplified methods for evaluation of earthquake-induced displacement in earth and rockfill dams
Amanda Ament, Jon Williams, Malcolm Barker
Aplins Weir is located on the Ross River in Townsville, downstream from the Ross River Dam. Previous work had identified Aplins Weir as exhibiting factors of safety below 1.0 under normal operating conditions, with over 1000 persons at risk today in the event of failure. Originally constructed in the early 1920s, Aplins Weir has been upgraded and repaired following various failures on a number of occasions. The end result is a complex reinforced concrete and steel sheet pile composite structure reliant for stability on a number of unreliable components. This paper presents the historical data describing the current configuration of the weir, and the analyses required to evaluate the extisting structure, leading to the design of the proposed upgrade works. The final design involves a retrofit of large diameter cast-in-place lined piles and a heavily reinforced base overlay slab designed to completely bypass all existing vulnerable substructure elements.
2011 – Where is our Weir going – an Unusual Upgrade!
Susan Ryanand Siraj Perera
This paper describes the benefits of the statewide risk reporting framework used in dam safety regulation in Victoria and its ongoing development. Key to this approach is a web-hosted reporting system and benchmarking process, established by the Department of Sustainability and Environment in collaboration with the Victorian water industry. This is the first time that such an approach has been used in Australia for publicly owned dams.
Sector-wide reporting on dam safety is central to the objective-based approach used by the Department in the governance and regulation of the water industry. Water corporations submit detailed annual reports on dam safety status. This incorporates ‘self assessment’ against performance criteria based on ANCOLD risk and dam safety management guidelines. These are collated to produce a statewide report of industry-wide results on the progress of dam safety management programs. This benchmarking process is providing a driver for on-going improvement and proving to be an effective tool for regulation of publicly owned dams.
The reporting framework has significantly advanced the understanding of dam safety risk across the water sector, with outputs easily understood by both dam safety practitioners and decision makers. It has improved monitoring and trend analysis of risk management practices, and is informing policy development on demonstration of the ALARP principle and decision-making about appropriate long-term dam safety levels.
Alex Gower, Graeme Mannand Peter Hulcup
The Water Corporation is the principal dam owner in Western Australian with a portfolio of 70 dams. Many of these dams are more than 30 years old and were designed and constructed prior to the writing of most occupational health and safety legislation and associated regulations and standards. Achieving compliance with these regulations and standards on the older assets has led to increasingly complex procedures and increased costs to undertake what were previously routine inspection, operation and maintenance tasks. In some cases achieving compliance has become impractical and modification to the assets is required.
This paper discusses a range of different safety issues, hazards and challenges faced at dams in Western Australia. These include prevention of falls from height, rescue of injured personnel within intake towers and drainage galleries and public access on the dams. Solutions adopted to improve safety and security for operators and the public are presented.
2011 – Safer Access at Water Corporation Dams
Richard R. Davidson, Joergen Pilzand Bruce Brown
Recent earthquakes in Chile, New Zealand and Japan have created a new focus on the safe design of tailings dams in seismic regions of the world. Building sand and rockfill embankments to sustain large ground motions and provide crucial drainage of excess pore pressures remain daunting challenges at each site. Are conventional hydraulic deposition practices still viable? What new technologies can be considered? Addressing seismic stability of existing upstream method tailings dams whether currently in operation or closed is stretching our seismic geotechnical engineering profession to its limits of understanding of behaviour. Creating a safe, secure environmental storage must also be integrated with the geotechnical and hydrologic concerns. Is there a viable risk context to consider these competing issues? This paper will raise these issues within the international context and suggest a prudent path forward.
2011 – The Challenges of Building Tailings Dams in Seismic Regions