2015 – Design of the overbank spillway for St Georges Dam

Monique Eggenhuizen, Eric Lesleighter, Gamini Adikari

St Georges Dam is located on Creswick Creek approximately 2km southeast of the township of Creswick and 135km northwest of Melbourne. The reservoir, located within the Creswick Regional Park and originally constructed to supply water for the Creswick quartz crushing plant in the 1890s, has since been established as a popular recreational storage and is the responsibility of Parks Victoria. The dam is approximately 16m high and located across a relatively steep gully. The embankment consists of earthfill with an upstream face of rock beaching and a grass covered downstream face. The primary and secondary spillways are cut into the right and left abutments respectively.
At the completion of a detailed design review, St Georges Dam was assessed to be within the top three of Parks Victoria’s dams portfolio in regards to Public Safety Risks. The detailed design review assessed that the risk position for the dam plotted within the unacceptable region of the ANCOLD Guidelines for the static, earthquake and flood failure modes. As such, upgrade measures were considered to be required. In 2010 and 2011, a number of significant flood events emphasised the importance of upgrade works at this dam, particularly in regards to upgrading the spillway capacity, and consequently Parks Victoria assigned these works a high priority.
SMEC was engaged to design the upgrade works for the dam. A number of arrangements to increase the spillway capacity of the dam were considered, with the most cost effective option being assessed to be a secondary spillway over the dam embankment in the form of a rock chute.
This paper describes the decision making process associated with the option selection and the methodology for designing the overbank spillway which utilised the findings in ‘Riprap Design for Overtopping Flows (Abt & Johnson, 1991), and US Army Corps of Engineers, Waterways Experiment Station, publications of standard riprap gradations and computer program CHANLPRO.
Keywords: Embankment Dams, Spillway, Rock Chute, Erosion Protection


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