This paper discusses the common environmental issues and requirements project lenders have when financing hydropower dam projects in developing countries. The environmental specialist’s role, as part of the Lender’s Technical Advisor team, is discussed throughout the main phases of project finance (credit approval, financial close, lending/construction and loan repayment/operation). Further, how environmental issues are reviewed and monitored, thereby minimising reputational risks to the lenders are outlined.
Lenders typically consider hydropower dam financing, especially reservoir schemes, as high reputational risk loans. Finance is usually syndicated and although most international lenders are Equator Principles signatories or use the International Financing Corporations (IFC) Performance Standards, some lenders have additional environmental guidelines and requirements to enable financing. These differences are discussed.
Common environmental concerns include loss of habitat of endangered and/or threatened species, changes to river flows, erosion and sediment control during construction, and the minimisation and disposal of project wastes.
These issues are discussed drawing on the author’s experience in monitoring environmental issues of hydropower projects in Asia Pacific and Africa, including both smaller run-of-river schemes and larger storage reservoir projects.
Keywords: Environment, impacts, project financing, concerns, lenders, lenders technical advisor.
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David Stewart, Shane McGrath & Siraj Perera
Dam safety in Victoria is overseen by the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning on behalf of the relevant Minister and under the Water Act. For each of the 19 state-owned Water Corporations, Government has issued a Statement of Obligations which describes all responsibilities of the Corporation, including specific reference to dam safety management and ANCOLD Guidelines.
These Corporations report annually to the Department on their compliance with all their obligations, including dam safety management. In late 2014, 13 Water Corporations along with the Department commissioned a comparative benchmarking study of dam safety management practices across the state. This work was facilitated by the VicWater Dams Industry Working Group. The study used a rapid assessment method against 14 separate criteria for dam safety management, based on the Statements of Obligations, guidance notes developed by the Department, ANCOLD Guidelines, the ICOLD Draft Bulletin on Dam Safety Management, good governance principles and examples of best practice from other jurisdictions.
The study involved assessment of background data, site inspections and discussions with various individuals of each owner, including a range of field staff, dam safety staff, Executive Managers, Managing Directors and Board Directors. The benchmarking study covered 142 dams of Significant, High and Extreme Consequence Category throughout Victoria.
The results of the benchmarking study have been extremely useful for individual dam owners and for the Department to understand areas where good practice is in place and also where there is potential for improvement of individual programs. The study also provides a measure of assurance of the current status of dam safety management practices and areas where regulatory practices could be better focused. It also reinforced the importance of strong industry networks such as ANCOLD and VicWater for knowledge transfer, capacity development and sustainability of dam safety management practices.
This paper presents the methodology used for the benchmarking study and its broader findings. It also highlights good practice considerations for dam owners, regulators and other dam safety practitioners.
Keywords: Dam Safety Management, Governance, Benchmarking
Nikifor Petrovic, Sladoljub Pezerovic
Dam rehabilitation works at the Visegrad Hydropower Project on the River Drina in Bosnia and Herzegovina were completed in October 2014 after two years of very challenging and collaborative effort between the client, designer and contractor.
The successfully accomplished remedial works programme was a highly complex geotechnical intervention. The dam was constructed on a karst foundation extending up to 200 m below reservoir floor level. Rates of seepage through the foundation increased over time, from 1.4 m3/s following first impoundment in 1989, to 14.7 m3/s in 2009.
The rehabilitation works comprised:
Preparatory works (site installation, work platforms, conveyer belts, electricity and water supply, drilling and grouting equipment installation);
Site investigation works (drilling of boreholes, measurements of inclination, geo-physical carotage, downhole video, underwater camera recording);
Installation of monitoring equipment and implementation of real time recording system;
Installation of inert material into a sinkhole within the storage area and into the bore holes located upstream of the dam; and
Grouting of the foundation area using different grout mixes and grouting methods.
During rehabilitation works the main achievements were:
A total of about 37,300 m3 of inert material (granular materials with different fractions from 0 to 32 mm) was installed into the foundation cracks and caverns. This was a significant achievement due to very complex geological conditions and resulted in a seepage reduction through the foundation and improvement of the overall safety and stability of the dam.
The total consumption of grouting material was in access of 2,500 tonnes of cement, bentonite, sand and additives.
After completion of the work, seepage of water through the foundation was reduced to about 4.5 m3/s.
Keywords: Seepage, remedial works, dam, grouting, inert material.
J.H. Green; C. Beesley; C. The and S. Podger
Rare design rainfalls for probabilities less frequent than 1% Annual Exceedance Probability (AEP) are an essential part of spillway adequacy assessment as they enable more accurate definition of the design rainfall and flood frequency curves between the 1% AEP and Probable Maximum events.
Estimates for rare design rainfalls were previously derived using the CRC-FORGE method which was developed in the 1990s. However, as the method was applied on a state-by-state basis, there are variations in the approach adopted for each region. Differences in the cut-off period for data, the amount of quality controlling of the data undertaken, the base used for the 2% AEP estimates, gridding settings and smoothing processes have created inconsistencies which are particularly apparent in overlapping state border areas.
The Bureau of Meteorology has derived new rare design rainfalls for the whole of Australia using the extensive, quality-controlled rainfall database established for the new Intensity-Frequency-Duration (IFD) design rainfalls. These data have been analysed using a regional LH-moments approach which is more consistent with the method used to derive the new IFDs and which overcomes the limitations of the spatial dependence model in the CRC-FORGE method. In particular, the selection and verification of homogenous regions and the identification of the most appropriate regional probability distribution to adopt relied heavily on the outcomes of the testing of methods undertaken for the new IFDs. However, to focus the analysis on the rarer rainfall events, only the largest events have been used to define the LH-moments.
Keywords: Rare design rainfalls; Intensity-Frequency-Duration (IFD); Annual Exceedance Probability
Gavan Hunter, Andrew Pattle and Mark Foster
A piping incident occurred during first filling of Rowallan Dam, Tasmania in 1968. The incident occurred at the interface of the embankment with the spillway wall, a 15 m high near vertical wall, where the contact earthfill eroded into the single stage downstream filter. Repairs were undertaken in 1968/1969 and the reservoir has operated largely without incident since.
A risk assessment in 2009 identified that piping through the embankment at the spillway wall interface remained a significant dam safety risk. Investigations in 2010 encountered cracking within the earthfill core at the spillway wall interface.
Dam safety upgrade works were undertaken in 2014/15 to address the piping failure mode at the spillway walls and also within the upper portion of the embankment. The works required excavation down to a rock foundation at depths up to 18 m adjacent to the spillway walls and this excavation provided an unusual opportunity to closely examine active piping features that had been preserved when interim repairs in 1968/69 had arrested the progression of piping. The repair comprised reconstruction of a significant portion of the embankment at the spillway and the reconstruction of the upper 7 m of the crest, which included dual filters downstream of the earthfill core.
The findings from the forensic investigations of the deep excavations adjacent to the right spillway wall are described in this paper along with a summary of finding from the 1968/69 repair works and a discussion of the piping mechanism at the spillway wall. The paper also covers the design and construction of the repair work. The focus of this paper is on advancements in our understanding of piping risk arising from the Rowallan Dam work.
In conclusion, (i) the upgrade works successfully reduced the dam safety risk of Rowallan Dam; (ii) the findings support the methodologies of the piping toolbox; (iii) the case study provides insight into filtering and crack filling mechanisms that have a broader implication for estimating the risks of internal erosion within existing dams; and (iv) the findings support the assessment of the low residual risks for piping through the embankment away from the upgrade work areas (crest reconstruction and spillway walls).
Keywords: Earth and rockfill embankment, piping incident, piping mechanism, dam safety upgrade.
Russell Cuerel, Richard Priman, Michel Raymond, Ian Hanks
Following significant flood events across Queensland over the last five years causing significant damage in South East Queensland, Bundaberg Burnett region, St. George in the south west and more recently in Central Queensland in the Callide Valley, there has been renewed interest in finding solutions to flooding issues.
Increasing the available flood storage within a catchment is a well-known method of improving flood mitigation outcomes for developed areas. In many basins/catchments, potential flood storage development options (new storages or augmentations to existing storages) can be identified by reviewing previous water supply investigations and flood studies and by scanning topographic mapping. From such site identification there will often be numerous combinations of possible flood storage development options to consider because of the number of tributaries which may contribute to major flood events.
This paper outlines a methodology to screen, within a relatively short timeframe and at relatively low cost, a large number of identified flood storage development options and combination development scenarios and shortlist for more detailed analysis. The screening process is heavily reliant on hydrologic assessments to rapidly short-list scenarios for assessment and then relies on traditional engineering and economic assessments to do the fine tuning of the analysis.
Keywords: flooding, damages, impacts, flood storage, flood mitigation, dams, benefit-cost ratio.