Matthew Sentry and Darren Loidl
To triple Yass’ water storage capacity, Yass Valley Council was required to increase the height of their existing concrete weir by 3.0 m. The 100 m wide weir was originally constructed back in the 1920’s. Upgrade works to the weir included raising the height of the existing concrete weir by 3.0 m with reinforced concrete; install 33 number 27 strand post-tensioned ground anchors vertically into the crest; construct a new outlet structure; upgrade existing mechanical pipe works; and replace the existing pedestrian bridge with a concrete bridge capable of vehicle traffic.
The key project constraints during construction were to maintain constant water to the town’s water treatment plant and maintain minimum 70% reservoir storage.
The original weir had no auxiliary means of flow diversion and the construction constraints meant that the water storage could only be reduced by 1.0 m from the existing crest during construction, resulting in the construction work being carried out in an active water course with minimal means of flow diversion. These key project constraints meant that there was a high risk of flooding during construction work.
Geotechnical Engineering was engaged by Yass Valley Council to carry out the required upgrade work at Yass Dam. Prior to construction work commencing, risk workshops with client and designers clarified the flood risks during construction. To minimise the impact of flood events during construction, Geotech implemented several flood mitigation measures which were controlled by a detailed construction flood management plan. These control measures included construction of two temporary diversion slots cut into the existing concrete weir capable of supporting a 1 in 2 year rain event whilst allowing construction work to continue; re-design of concrete works to minimise the volume of concrete which was to be cut from the existing wall’s downstream face; detailed construction sequencing to minimise impact to existing and new wall during construction work; and the early installation and stressing of anchors.
Although a detailed construction flood management plan was developed and implemented, the Yass Dam site was impacted by 13 floods during the 20 month construction period. Several floods recorded water levels between 1.5 m and 1.9 m above the existing crest, resulting in work ceasing for weeks if not months at a time. As a result of the consistent flooding, Geotech was able to develop stronger and more resilient methods to be able to effectively work within an active watercourse on dam structures where minimal flow diversions are available. This paper presents the unique techniques implemented through the Yass Dam Upgrade project and discusses the effectiveness of these techniques and lessons learnt through the 13 flood events experienced.
Tim Gillon and Grant Murray
Chelsea Estate is located on the edge of the Waitemata Harbour, and is only ten minutes drive from Auckland central business district. Within Chelsea Estate are four ‘low’ potential impact classification (PIC) dams, which cascade along Duck Creek. Three of the dams are over 100 years old and all dams were built from 1884 to 1917. The dams and the reservoirs have served, and continue to serve, several purposes including stormwater retention, recreational use and water supply for the adjacent sugar factory. In 2008 Auckland Council (AC) purchased the Chelsea Estate from the New Zealand Sugar Company (NZSC) and in 2009 the Estate was registered in the New Zealand Historic Places Trust (NZHPT). This paper discusses the history and functionality of the multi-function Chelsea Estate dams, the development of the site and how it impacts our understanding of the dams today.
Keywords: Chelsea Estate, multi-function dams, heritage dams.
Neil Jacka, Christopher Dann, Jeremy Eldridge
The Tekapo Canal Remediation Works were undertaken to extend the life of the canal and enhance its seismic and environmental resilience. The deterioration of the canal lining in specific reaches has been the consequence of internal erosion of the lining under operating conditions.
The remedial works comprised installation of a supplementary geomembrane liner over selected sections of the canal, reconstruction of a culvert where the embankment had suffered piping, installation of filters in the Maryburn Fill, strengthening of the bridges across the canal and replacement of irrigation off-takes.
This paper presents a summary of key issues resolved during the design of the remediation works, in particularly the design of the geomembrane ballast system, the cofferdams and the management of side slope stability during drawdown for the works. A number of construction trials were carried out to confirm design assumptions and test construction techniques. The trials were a significant factor in the successful completion of the first season of work ahead of programme.
Keywords: Canal, Lining, Geomembrane, Cofferdam, Design, Seismic resilience
John Duder, David Bouma and Paul McCallum
The authors have been involved in the safety inspection and remediation of many older (pre-dating the 2004 Building Act) farm dams over the past decade coupled with considerable corporate knowledge from dams inspected by Tonkin & Taylor Ltd in its 50+ year history. This paper presents a summary of the varied benefits and risks of these older dams and the difficulties encountered in bringing them into alignment with current practice.
The many farm dams around New Zealand provide considerable benefit to the owners and often to the environment and wider community including the obvious stock water and irrigation, but also micro hydro, recreation, flood detention, release of environmental flows and flows for downstream users, and wetland habitat.
However, when applying current dam safety practice, and looking forward to the implementation of the Dam Safety Regulations, some of the older farm dams have significant dam safety issues that are often challenging to address. Although there is a high degree of variability, typical issues include:
Little or no documentation of geotechnical investigations, design or construction,
Design standards, particularly for spillway capacity have generally increased,
Little or no formal surveillance or maintenance carried out or recorded since commissioning,
Many farm dam owners have a poor understanding of their obligations under the Building Act and the Conditions of their Resource consents,
Consent conditions may not require dam safety related monitoring and maintenance, and/or the conditions may not have been historically enforced.
Many of these farm dams have been constructed by small contractors at the request of the farmers, often with only “standardised” engineering design and little specific geotechnical investigation. Typically there are no as-built records and the dam owners have been left with a general lack of understanding of owner’s responsibilities to monitor and maintain the dam.
Given that there are often very limited funds available for upgrade work, it has proved important to apply sound engineering judgement and a high degree of pragmatism to realise the greatest possible reduction in dam safety related risk for the available funds. Good cooperation between the Regional Authority, the Building Consent Authority for dams (often they are different organisations), the dam owner, and the dam engineer, together with a pragmatic approach is vital in moving toward current best practice for management of these dams.
Case studies are presented for the Northland Region, where the farm dams are typically homogenous earth fill dams in the order of 8 to 12 m high, fulfilling functions as irrigation, stock water supply, recreation and flood detention structures. The findings are considered relevant to earth fill farm dams across the country.
Kinchant Dam is a zoned earth and rockfill embankment situated on the north branch of Sandy Creek, approximately 30 km southwest of Mackay in central Queensland. Kinchant Dam was constructed in stages. The ‘Initial Development Stage’ which consisted of an embankment length of approximately 3.3 km and full supply level (FSL) of EL 49.21 m AHD was completed in 1977. Further development completed in 1986 (Stage I) increased the FSL to EL 57.21 m AHD with an embankment length of 5.5 km and a maximum embankment height of 22.3 m. The dam has a storage capacity of 62,800 Ml and a 60 m wide emergency spillway with a fixed crest level of EL 58.21 m AHD, one metre higher than the FSL.
A series of investigations have been carried out since its construction as a consequence of both regulatory safety reviews and observed excessive pore pressures within the foundation that have led to wet patches developing at the toe of the dam. In one area at the toe, pore pressures were such that artesian conditions developed. This paper outlines the history of various stages of construction of the dam, the foundation investigations since construction and the safety review and comprehensive risk assessment process that lead to the upgrade design and construction of remedial works. The remedial works include the extension of the downstream filter material adjacent to the clay core and the provision of additional pressure relief wells at the downstream toe of the dam.
At the time that Contact Energy Ltd renewed the consents to operate its hydro generation dams in the Clutha catchment of Central Otago, it entered into an agreement with the kayaking community to construct a whitewater park on the Hawea River. The construction of the whitewater park was part of a package designed to mitigate the adverse effect on the natural whitewater features in the catchment caused by the construction of hydro generation dams
This paper outlines the process involved in identifying the preferred option, obtaining the necessary consent, design and construction and commissioning of the Hawea Whitewater Park.