K.A. Crawford-Flett, J.J.M. Haskell
Dam inventories can provide a comprehensive understanding of a region’s dam population; from dam quantity, type, age, height, and purpose; to ownership profiling and broad-based regional risk assessment using GIS applications. Historically, New Zealand has lacked a comprehensive inventory of dam assets, instead relying on local and industry knowledge to characterise the dam infrastructure and its key properties, issues, and risks.
This paper presents a cross-sectional characterisation of dams in New Zealand, based on the recent compilation and analysis of a New Zealand Inventory of Dams (NZID). The NZID is the first inventory of its kind for NZ dams, comprising almost 1200 unique structures over 3 m in height. Inventory data was sourced from existing publications, NZSOLD, and regional authorities. The analysis of anonymised inventory data provides an understanding of the number and distribution of assets, along with characteristic physical properties (construction material, height, age, purpose).
Statistical comparisons are drawn in relation to published international dam inventories. Similarities and differences in the international dam populations are noted, particularly with regard to construction era and type. The NZ portfolio is unique in that dams are typically shorter in height, and a significant proportion of structures serve the hydroelectric and energy sectors.
Analysis of the new NZID confirms the need for research that is focused on the long-term performance of aging earth dams, particularly those exceeding 40 years of age. In addition to informing research needs and foci, the new NZID provides statistics on the dam population with far-reaching industry and management applications
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Matthew Ind, Kate Brand and Mark Ferrier
The framework for undertaking a dam breach analysis for water dams is reasonably well established with a depth of information and software available to guide practitioners on a consistent approach to undertaking failure impact assessments. In contrast, dam breach modelling for tailings dams is currently a developing field with a wide range of modelling approaches taken and an inconsistency in the quality of the failure impact assessments undertaken. Recent tailings dam failures at the Mt Polley Mine in British Columbia, Canada and the Fundäo and Santarém dams at the Samarco iron ore operation in Minas Gerais, Brazil have provided a sobering reminder of the hazards presented by tailings dams and the clean-up challenges that are significantly more complex than a similar failure of a water dam.
Current guidelines and approaches to dam breach modelling are often done assuming the run-out material from the breach is just water without due consideration of the impact from tailings loss. There is limited analysis undertaken on credible failure modes of tailings dams with an assumption that the embankment just “breaks” at some random point without appreciation of the failure mechanism. The misunderstanding of failure modes leads onto inconsistencies with application on whether a ‘sunny-day’ or extreme flood event modelling should be applied, with one or the other selected without explanation.
This paper outlines a framework that can be applied when undertaking a dam breach study for tailings dams to enable a consistent and credible assessment of potential failure impacts. The following tasks are discussed in detail in support of this framework:
J.H.Green, C.Beesley, C.The, S.Podgerand, A.Frost
The ability to estimate design rainfalls for probabilities rarer than 100 years or 1% Annual Exceedance Probability (AEP) is an essential part of dam hydrology. The earliest means of estimating rare events consisted of a pragmatic curve fitting procedure between the 50 and 100 year design rainfalls and the Probable Maximum Precipitation. In the 1990s a more rigorous method of estimating design rainfalls as rare as 2000 years was developed – the Cooperative Research Centre – FOcussed Rainfall Growth Estimation (CRC-FORGE) method. CRC-FORGE estimates were derived for Victoria in 1997 followed progressively by each of the other states. Over the subsequent two decades CRC-FORGE estimates were an integral part of the risk assessment of large dams – being used to determine the AEP of the Dam Crest Flood.
The Bureau of Meteorology will soon release new rare design rainfall estimates for probabilities to 2000 years. The new rare design rainfalls are a significant improvement on the CRC-FORGE estimates as they have been derived using up to date data; contemporary analytical techniques and a method that is consistent across Australia.
However, there are differences between the CRC-FORGE estimates and the new rare design rainfalls. These differences do not constitute a systematic change to the CRC-FORGE estimates but rather vary with location; duration and probability. The results of a detailed comparison between the CRC-FORGE estimates and the new rare design rainfalls are presented together will an assessment of the possible impacts on previous estimates of the AEP of the Dam Crest Flood.
Richard R. Davidson, Michael Zoccola, Barney Davis, John W. France
Seepage barriers have become an essential element of dam safety upgrades for many aging dams. Our construction technical specifications are generally written to achieve a degree of perfection that may not be possible or practical. Many practitioners believe that grouting alone can achieve an acceptable seepage barrier through a pervious rock foundation. However, precedent from many Corps of Engineers dams has revealed that grouting can only treat those open features that the grout holes intersect. What about clay filled fractures or solution features that resist grout penetration but then erode over time? Can any grout treatment ever be considered as a permanent seepage barrier? Cutoff walls through embankment dams and their foundations are generally considered as a more permanent seepage barrier. However, do we have the means to construct a perfect seepage barrier wall, or are defects to be expected. Do these defects represent fundamental flaws that require risk mitigation? How can we verify that we have built an acceptable seepage barrier that meets the design intent?
Shane McGrath, Stuart Richardson, Mark Arnold
Melbourne Water Corporation has recently completed a complex safety upgrade of Greenvale, an extreme consequence category dam. An assessment concluded that the residual risks were As Low as Reasonably Practicable (ALARP). However, given the uncertainty associated with the calculations the estimated residual societal risk was not comfortably below the limit of tolerability. Melbourne Water has experience with preparing hazardous industry safety cases for its water treatment chemical storages and decided to trial the methodology for Greenvale Dam. This paper describes the approach taken in hazardous industries to construct safety cases and how his was adapted to demonstrate that dam safety risks are ALARP.
There is a significant body of knowledge in relation to assessing the impacts of earthquakes on earth and rock fill dams which has led to a number of widely recognised and accepted methodologies for the calculation of potential deformations from an earthquake event. However, limited research has been conducted into the assessment of blasting impacts on earth structures. This has led to an adoption of earthquake analysis methods in the assessment of blasting impacts on earth structures without adequate consideration to the difference between the stresses and displacements imposed on an embankment as a result of a blast as opposed to an earthquake. Adopting earthquake analysis techniques may result in conservative vibration limits being imposed when undertaking blasting near embankment dams which may have negative financial impacts.
This paper explores the risks associated with blasting adjacent to earth fill dams and details the difference between stresses and displacements imposed on an embankment by a blast versus an earthquake.
This paper also discusses previously adopted approaches to assessing potential impacts associated with blasting and the limitations associated with adopting a pseudo-static and simplified permanent deformation analysis for blasts modelled as equivalent earthquakes. Finally, the paper proposes an alternate risk based analysis approach.