Gary Gibson and Vicki-Ann Dimas
Earthquake recurrence models are based on observed seismicity, geological data and geodetic motion. They are particularly difficult to define in regions of low seismicity where the average recurrence interval between moderate to large earthquakes greatly exceeds the duration of the known earthquake catalogue.
The earthquake process may be considered as ongoing long-term deformation due to plate movement in the region about the fault, resulting in stress build-up, and a significant number of small earthquakes through the deformed region. Larger earthquakes occur at irregular intervals, with ruptures on the larger faults that release elastic strain energy from the region. Most strain energy release is during the large fault rupture.
This gives a wider range in hazard estimates compared with extrapolation methods, increasing hazard in regions of active faulting and reducing hazard where long-term geological stability can be observed. As dams are usually in regions with recent uplift, this method will tend to increase hazard estimates.
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Two techniques were used to calculate seismic hazard at a number of locations in southeast Australia. To simplify matters only Peak Ground Accelerations were compared.
The first technique used a seismological model of areal source zones that was based on the recorded seismicity as well as geological and tectonic inputs. Each zone was assigned a rate of earthquake activity that had been calculated from the recorded seismicity and a magnitude completeness function. Known geological faults that are also part of the model had to be excluded to allow a direct comparison with the second technique. A standard probabilistic seismic hazard analysis then gave PGA values versus return periods. This is the approach that has been used for the current Australian earthquake loading code (AS1170.4).
The second technique used a simple historical approach whereby recorded earthquakes were combined with an attenuation function to directly give the estimated return periods. This approach takes no account of tectonics, geological terranes or faulting – it simply uses the known, recorded earthquake catalogue. This is the technique used in the original Australian earthquake loading code (AS 2121).
The same ground motion attenuation function was used in both techniques but for a direct comparison the aleatory variability was set to zero in the probabilistic case because the historical approach did not include this effect.
In the historical approach the variability in completeness of the recorded catalogue was not considered. It was simply assumed that all earthquakes producing accelerations greater than a given value would be recorded over the last 100 years.
The comparisons were made for minimum considered magnitudes of 4 and 5.
There was general agreement between the two approaches especially at shorter return periods (lower PGA amplitudes). At longer return periods (higher PGA amplitudes) where there were higher uncertainties, the results at some sites diverged.
This simple comparison of two approaches to the same problem of estimating earthquake hazard is shown to be of value in ensuring that the AUS5 model used by SRC is producing results that are consistent with the historically recorded data.
Marius Jonker and Dr Radin Espandar
This paper provides a summary of the current state of practice for arch dam design criteria that have been adopted by some international dam organizations, and where relevant, compares that with the criteria provided in the updated ANCOLD Guidelines on Design Criteria for Concrete Gravity Dams, with the view to provide a basis for consistent and unified design criteria for arch dams in Australia.
The paper draws on the authors’ experience with arch dams, including recent experience with a number of arch dam safety reviews in Australia, their past experience with arch dams over 200 m height, as well as their involvement with the development of the mentioned updated ANCOLD Guidelines.
Since the last arch dam was constructed in Australia, a number of international publications have been released on arch dam design practices, providing general information and guidance for the design of new dams and evaluation of the safety and structural integrity of existing arch dams. This paper compares these publications and proposes criteria that are aligned with the ANCOLD gravity dam guidelines.
Bronson McPherson, David Guest, Barton Maher, Ian Tanner and Amit Chanan
There is significant community interest in the potential for water supply dams to be adapted for flood mitigation, particularly for major dams located upstream of flood vulnerable populations. There may be a number of large dams which have the potential to provide significant flood mitigation benefits to Australian communities if they can be adapted for flood mitigation functionality. Other dams already provide significant flood mitigation benefits, however their limitations are not properly understood by the general public. Two major dams located near a large urban town centre prone to flooding are examined as a case study and some international cases are presented.
Flood mitigation often has a different funding source to water supply. The funding arrangements for flood mitigation dam works can be complex, considering the potential stakeholders and somewhat intangible benefits. If the community wants to use a water supply dam to provide flood mitigation then who provides the funding for the modification works?
Paul Southcott, Tony Harman
This paper addresses structural behaviour of the Rowallan spillway walls and the learning that can be derived from this in the design of critical retaining walls in dams and how this can be applied both to remedial works and new work. The authors propose design criteria suitable for retaining walls in high hazard dams.
Robert Kingsland, Andy Noble and Dr Eric Lam
Engineering design is necessarily context specific. However, engineering design produced in industrialised nations often comes encumbered with design methods, standards and construction process familiarities that can result in inappropriate design solutions for developing nations. This is no more apparent than with the design of small hydropower projects where budgets are small and the implications of poor decisions can easily threaten the viability of schemes.
In this paper we explore the challenges and opportunities for the scheme’s developer and designer, in striking an appropriate balance on engineering solutions that remain appropriate for the local construction practices. In most cases, based on our experiences from small, run-of-river developments, the available methods for feasibility study data collection, including geotechnical investigations and hydrology assessments, are in themselves a challenge. Consequently, the designer needs to work with what is readily available and often has to reset the established thinking to incorporate practical constructability into the designs, while giving special attention to the operation and maintenance aspects. More labour-intensive methods are not uncommon.
The stakeholders in small hydropower schemes are many: the community, the approval agencies, the lenders, the developers, the local construction industry, the government. Design decisions cannot be made in a vacuum. However, designers are often distant from the social, political, environmental and commercial context of their project. This separation can present significant challenges which, without due attention, can result in poor design outcomes.
This paper will, with reference to examples of good and poor design, discuss various facets of small hydropower development from a civil engineering perspective including, the scale of development, design methods, stakeholder engagement, local content involvement, constructability and financing. The paper concludes with suggestions for improving design outcomes for small hydropower projects.