2016 – Towards Improved Efficiency of Dambreak Modelling and Consequence Assessment Projects

D Stephens and P Hill

Dambreak modelling and consequence assessment is a key component of many dam safety related studies. The outputs from these assessments can be used to inform the consequence category, dam safety emergency planning, risk-based surveillance and dam safety risk assessment. These studies are complex, intensive and expensive to complete, and all too often there is a need to manipulate or extrapolate the results of these assessments to fit a purpose other than what they were intended for. This issue is particularly prevalent for risk assessment, where the likelihood calculations are directly tied to analysis of the key failure modes, but consequences may be taken from previous studies which were not informed by failure mode selection. The result of this mismatch may lead to inefficiencies and uncertainties in preparing the risk estimates. Subtle changes to the timing or scope of the original dambreak modelling and consequence assessments, at relatively small incremental cost, may help to prevent these issues arising for future studies. Advice is provided on specific issues such as the determination of the downstream extent of the dambreak modelling, selection of the dambreak modelling scenarios and reconciliation of the consequence assessment results with flood and seismic loading partitions for risk assessment. It is hoped that the advice provided will lead to an overall increase in the efficiency and value for money of these studies.


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