Richard Herweynen, Tim Griggs, Alan White
The Ministry of Public Utilities, Sarawak, Malaysia used an independent dam safety consultant to advise them on whether the Murum Dam was ready for impoundment. They were looking for a holistic assessment of the dam from a dam safety perspective. As a result, a risk framework was adopted to identify the key issues that needed to be addressed prior to impoundment of the Murum Dam. The process adopted which is presented in this paper, was transparent and defensible; and provided a reasoned approach for which items must be completed prior to the commencement of impoundment. As a result effort was focused on the key activities required prior to impoundment – whether this was the completion of specific works, the availability of key instrumentation to monitor the dams performance, the availability and operation of key dam safety systems, or the appropriate emergency preparedness should a dam safety incident occur during first filling. This systematic process based on a risk based approach, was a useful method of determining the dam’s readiness for impoundment, and provided an excellent way of communicating the importance of activities to the key stakeholders. The authors believe that this method is transferable to other dam projects, for an assessment of a dam’s readiness for impoundment.
Keywords: Dam safety, risk, impoundment, reservoir filling.
Kirsty Carroll, Kelly Maslin, Richard Rodd
Melbourne Water manages over 210 retarding basins across Greater Melbourne ranging in size from 4ML to 4700 ML with embankment heights from 0.3m to 10m. Over the years the basins have been designed and constructed by a range of different owners and authorities. Varying design and construction standards with the majority of retarding basins generally being located in highly urbanised areas, has resulted in Melbourne Water having a large portfolio of assets that have potential to pose a significant risk to the downstream communities they are designed to protect.
High level hazard category assessments completed over the last10 years identified that approximately 90 structures were either High or Extreme hazard categories based on the ANCOLD Guidelines on Assessment of the Consequences of Dam Failure.
In an attempt to identify retarding basins requiring priority consideration for remedial works Melbourne Water embarked on a process of completing a dam safety risk assessment for five of the retarding basins in accordance with the ANCOLD Guidelines on Risk Assessment. The objective of the risk assessment was to develop an understanding of the key risk issues that might affect retarding basins as distinct from water supply storages, identify potential remedial works and develop a prioritised risk management strategy for the five basins considered. In completing the risk assessment there was also significant discussion about ways to streamline the process to allow assessment of the remaining basins.
This paper details the results obtained from the risk assessment, investigates the application of the base safety condition and implementation of a risk management strategy. It also looks at similarities between sites to enable common upgrades to be implemented across the range of retarding basins. This paper also discusses the need for guidelines specific to retarding basins to be developed.
How do you solve a problem like retarding basins? An asset owner’s perspective
Monique de Moel, Mark Arnold, Gamini Adikari
Monbulk Saddle Dam, built in 1929, is one of two saddle dams located at the southern end of Silvan Reservoir, near the township of Monbulk, Victoria. The saddle dam is a 5.3m high earthfill embankment with a 230mm wide, centrally located, concrete core wall. The reservoir retained is located in the valley of Stonyford Creek, and impounds approximately 40,500 ML of water at FSL.
Excessive seepage at the right abutment of Monbulk Saddle Dam has been an issue since the early 1970’s. The reservoir has been operating with a level restriction since then to reduce the seepage flows. However; this restriction limits the operational flexibility of the storage. Early investigations concluded that the most likely mechanism for these excessive seepage flows was a defect in the concrete core wall.
Melbourne Water Corporation, (the owner and the operator of the reservoir), undertook a risk assessment for Silvan Reservoir as part of a review of its dams asset portfolio. Based on the information then available, the risk assessment was undertaken using the criteria and guidelines developed by ANCOLD. The result was that the piping risks associated with the seepage from the west abutment at Monbulk Saddle Dam was unacceptable. The risk assessment Panel also cast doubt on the likelihood of the seepage being caused by a defect in the concrete core wall. Melbourne Water therefore engaged SMEC Australia to investigate the likely causes and mechanisms for this seepage and to develop suitable remedial measures for the dam.
The investigations have included a desktop review of historical information, test pit investigations, Sonic borehole drilling, dynamic cone penetration tests, an infrared thermal imaging investigation and an electromagnetic groundwater seepage flow mapping investigation.
These investigations have shown that the most likely cause of the seepage is the presence of permeable foundation layers located beneath and around the existing core wall as the core wall does not extend over the full length of the embankment and becomes shallower towards the abutments.
To satisfy the ALARP principle; risk reduction remedial works Concept Designs are being developed and reviewed.
2011 – Investigating the Piping Risk Associated with Seepage at Monbulk Saddle Dam of Silvan Reservoir, Victoria
Susan Ryanand Siraj Perera
This paper describes the benefits of the statewide risk reporting framework used in dam safety regulation in Victoria and its ongoing development. Key to this approach is a web-hosted reporting system and benchmarking process, established by the Department of Sustainability and Environment in collaboration with the Victorian water industry. This is the first time that such an approach has been used in Australia for publicly owned dams.
Sector-wide reporting on dam safety is central to the objective-based approach used by the Department in the governance and regulation of the water industry. Water corporations submit detailed annual reports on dam safety status. This incorporates ‘self assessment’ against performance criteria based on ANCOLD risk and dam safety management guidelines. These are collated to produce a statewide report of industry-wide results on the progress of dam safety management programs. This benchmarking process is providing a driver for on-going improvement and proving to be an effective tool for regulation of publicly owned dams.
The reporting framework has significantly advanced the understanding of dam safety risk across the water sector, with outputs easily understood by both dam safety practitioners and decision makers. It has improved monitoring and trend analysis of risk management practices, and is informing policy development on demonstration of the ALARP principle and decision-making about appropriate long-term dam safety levels.
The enlargement of the Cotter Dam is being undertaken by ACTEW to provide a greater security of water supply to Canberra. The project involves constructing a larger, higher new dam wall immediately downstream of the existing Cotter Dam, to allow the present dam to continue functioning and supplying water while construction is underway. The project raised a number of environmental issues partly because the Cotter Dam currently supports a self-sustaining population of (endangered) Macquarie Perch, and because the Bendora Dam, upstream of Cotter Dam, contains a breeding population of (endangered) Trout Cod. Bendora Dam will not be physically affected by the works on Cotter Dam, but its operations may be altered. An ecological risk analysis was conducted to identify critical environmental risks that would need to be investigated and managed or ameliorated and management strategies were put in place to reduce risks. ACTEW have adopted an adaptive management approach to the project, but in order to implement that approach it is necessary to conduct effective monitoring of the fish populations of concern. These potentially include the two endangered species, as well as potential predators (such as cormorants) and competitors (such as trout). Power analysis has been used as a tool to evaluate whether it is feasible to monitor key populations sufficiently rigorously to be able to confidently detect a change (either an increase or decrease in a population). For Macquarie Perch and trout it should be possible to detect population changes statistically with a logistically feasible monitoring program.
2011 – Using risk analysis, power analysis and adaptive management to minimise ecological impacts of the Cotter Dam enlargement