Upstream construction methodology has been used to raise tailings dams in Western Australia (WA) for more than three decades, and the tailings storage facilities (TSFs) built in this manner have performed satisfactorily so far. The maximum design earthquake (MDE) for most of the existing, upstream-raised TSFs in WA was that corresponding to a 1-in-1,000 year annual exceedance probability (1:1,000 AEP). However, the recommended MDE loading for the High/Extreme Failure Consequence Category in the 2012 ANCOLD Guidelines on Tailings Dams is that of a 1:10,000 AEP. This more stringent seismic design criterion may restrict the use of upstream TSF construction in some areas of WA and Australia in general.
To evaluate the viability of upstream construction for a new or existing TSF, the effects of the earthquake design ground motion (EDGM) on the liquefaction and deformation response of the structure must be understood. The results of such analyses are an essential component in determining whether upstream raising will be feasible, or whether more robust but much more costly centreline or downstream construction methods are required.
A parametric study was completed to investigate the liquefaction and deformation behaviour of a typical, upstream-raised tailings dam under different earthquake design ground motions with different response spectra. The study utilized two-dimensional finite difference code FLAC2D effective stress dynamic analysis, in which the UBCSAND constitutive soil model was incorporated. Twenty-eight earthquake ground motions (matched and unmatched to the target response spectrum) were used in the study and the liquefaction response of the tailings dam model under those ground motions was analysed.
The results of the study demonstrate the importance of appropriate ground motion and response spectrum selection in assessing the seismic performance of an upstream-raised TSF. Liquefaction response was shown to vary with different response spectra, even though the corresponding EDGMs had similar peak ground acceleration (PGA) values. The importance of earthquake frequency content and duration, which in turn are affected by earthquake magnitude, distance and ground motion response, is emphasized. Scaling and matching the earthquake input motion to the uniform hazard response spectrum (UHRS) may result in overly-conservative design. Thus, selection of the most representative EDGM is essential to evaluating expected seismic performance for an upstream-raised TSF, and scaling or matching the earthquake input motions must be done cautiously.
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Simon Lang, David Stephens, Peter Hill, Mark Arnold and Tommie Conway
Considerable thought has been given in recent years to managing the risks associated with floods during the construction of new dams and dam upgrades. Both ANCOLD and the NSW DSC provide some limited advice on how this risk should be managed, with many dam owners aiming for societal risk during construction to be no higher than pre-construction. One approach to do this is to draw down the reservoir such that sufficient airspace is created to reduce the probability of overtopping the construction works to be equal to that of overtopping the dam crest pre-construction. However, this frequently leads to very large releases of valuable water resource being required. This approach also fails to consider that the conditional probabilities of failure may be quite different during construction than during normal operation. A risk-based approach was applied for the recent upgrade of Tarago Reservoir. Existing event trees from a failure modes analysis were adjusted to reflect the construction conditions. In some cases, the event probabilities increased (for example as a result of excavation of the dam embankment), however some also decreased (for example as a result of more rapid means of detecting and intervening in breach formation during construction). The conditional probabilities of failure during construction were then used to estimate the overall seasonal probability of failure, and it was found that a limited draw down of the reservoir would be sufficient to ensure that risks were no higher during construction than pre-construction. To reinforce this, the cost-to-save-a-statistical life was estimated for further drawdown of the reservoir and used to demonstrate that the risks were as low as reasonably practicable.
As the Panama Canal is upgraded to accommodate larger vessels, hydrological and ecological elements of the project are being closely monitored, along with the effects of the increased usage that is projected to accompany the upgrade when it opens to traffic in 2015. Each of the 14,000 ships that annually pass through the Panama Canal requires 200 ML of fresh water – drawn from Gatun Lake and other Chagres River reservoirs – to navigate through the locks. The reliability of a sustainable water supply is thus vital to the canal’s operation and, by extension, to the world’s economy.
Hydrologic, hydraulic, and sedimentation studies are providing baseline data for comparison with projected operational scenarios. Several projects are currently being undertaken to restore and protect the widely recognised and highly valued biodiversity within Gatun Lake’s catchment area. Efforts to promote biodiversity conservation during the construction and operation of the expansion project are being coordinated with the concurrent efforts of a variety of academic, scientific, and private institutions, including the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute, which is located on the largest island in Gatun Lake.
This paper examines the implications of growth and expansion on Gatun Dam and Lake. Current studies are assessing the impacts of deforestation on sedimentation and temporal flow distribution into Gatun Lake. Methodologies and results are presented for the USAID-funded Panama Canal Watershed Biodiversity Conservation Project, an undertaking that engages public and private sector partners in an effort to improve the management and conservation of critical areas through the implementation of sustainable practices and engagement of local stakeholders.
Alan Collins and Michelle Archer
The Waikato River is the longest river in New Zealand. Mighty River Power operates nine dams on the river with a combined net head of 335 m. The reservoirs have limited storage capacity so that the Waikato Hydro System is effectively a continuous run of the river scheme, providing constant generation for the New Zealand electricity grid. The river is also the habitat of the New Zealand Longfin and Shortfin Eel. Before the dams were constructed, eels naturally migrated as small elvers and lived as far upstream as the Arapuni gorge, where a waterfall prevented them from travelling further upstream. The commissioning of the Karapiro dam in 1947 reduced the natural habitat of the eels. In recent years, the eel population has been declining through a variety of anthropogenic factors and protective status is being called for. An elver catch and release program commenced at Karapiro Dam in 1992. This transferred elvers as far upstream as Lake Ohakuri and significantly increased the available habitat for the elvers to grow into adult eels. Spawning adults migrate downstream and back out to sea and as a result most of these eels are killed by turbines at the hydro stations. While consent conditions don’t stipulate it, Mighty River Power is committed to being an environmentally responsible custodian of the Waikato River and is dedicated in efforts to preserve the eel fishery. Mighty River Power recognises the importance of eel to local iwi; particularly highlighted by the emphasis on eel in the Waikato River Independent Scoping Study. The Karapiro eel bypass project, started in 2010, sought to investigate and research means to assist downstream eel migration. Research was gathered into eel searching patterns, timing of eel migration, durability in high velocities and other survival factors. This information was used to design, construct, and test a prototype downstream eel bypass at the Karapiro dam, something that had not been built on a dam this size before. In the 2013 migration season, three eels safely used the bypass. Plans are in place to improve the performance of the bypass in the coming seasons. Mighty River Power wishes to share the lessons learnt from this project with other dam operators for the conservation of this important species.
Monique de Moel and Gamini Adikari
Parks Victoria manages over 4 million hectares of parkland and a portfolio of over $1.9 billion worth of infrastructure assets. Within this portfolio, Parks Victoria is responsible for a large number of dams and their associated structures. Consequence category of these dams varies from Extreme to Very Low. Parks Victoria recognised that these assets required a dam safety management and monitoring program. The development of a program commenced with a portfolio risk assessment in 1998 which progressed to detailed design reviews of a selected number of dams and the initiation of an ongoing dam safety and surveillance program. This initial work identified the need for dam safety upgrade works within this asset portfolio which Parks Victoria has been progressively addressing. In 2012 Parks Victoria identified that a review of the risk profile of the dams was warranted. The review included consideration of alternative options such as staging of works, reducing storage volume and decommissioning, as well as non-technical considerations such as increasing the recreational use and the environmental value of these assets. This paper outlines the approach adopted by Parks Victoria in developing and improving its dam safety program and how it has assisted in minimising dam safety risks. Specifically, Parks Victoria’s approach of adopting measures that recognize the purpose and benefits of the individual storages, whilst being sympathetic to the requirements of the other infrastructure within its diverse portfolio of assets is highlighted. Since this work commenced in 1998, Parks Victoria have been successful in the development of an effective dam safety and management program which has resulted in the reduction of risks associated with this portfolio of assets.
Joseph Camuso, Bruce Howse, Vaughan Martin and Don Tate
The proposed Kotuku Flood Detention Dam has been designed to reduce flooding within Whangarei City. This paper describes the potential benefits and the impact of the project on the community and the environment. It also covers the engineering challenges encountered during the design phase of the project. In particular, the dam site is located within a complex geological area, including a basalt lava flow on the left abutment, and site constraints required a twin emergency spillway design. If the risks associated with the dam are managed effectively, the proposed dam will provide a valuable asset to the community.