There is increased pressure from stakeholders for projects to include evaluation of emerging broader development issues within the environmental assessment process. These emerging issues are not well documented or understood and at the forefront of untested preliminary government policy positions.
Agencies expect proponents to invest in evaluating these matters outside of typical assessment practices. Requests are made late in the evaluation and approval process.Assessmen involves matters not directly related to the project or within the proponent’s control and occurs late in the project development cycle.
The Lower Fitzroy River Infrastructure Project (LFRIP) was identified through the Central Queensland Regional Water Supply Study in 2006, as a solution to secure future water supplies for the Rockhampton, Capricorn Coast and Gladstone regions. The Gladstone Area Water Board and SunWater Limited, as proponents, propose to raise the existing Eden Bann Weir and construct a new weir at Rookwood on the Fitzroy River in Central Queensland.
The LFRIP environmental impact statement (EIS) was approved, subject to conditions, by the Queensland Coordinator-General in December 2016 and the Commonwealth Minister for the Environment and Energy in February 2017. Achieving conditions that will realise positive environmental outcomes while simultaneously achieving project objectives, particularly with regard to timeframes and costs, was not without its challenges.
The EIS was developed in accordance with the requirements of the State Development Public Works Organisation Act 1971 (Qld) and the Commonwealth’s Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999, including an extensive stakeholder consultation programme. These regulatory requirements are well understood and applied to projects as normal accepted practice. They ensured that potential project impacts and benefits were identified, that appropriate levels of effort were applied to investigations to establish baseline conditions and that risks to and impacts on environmental (including social and cultural) matters were adequately mitigated and managed.
The environment is not static. Emerging issues and perceptions results in regulation and policy changes in response to political and social drivers. During the development of the EIS both new legislation and new policies were imposed on the project.New legislation resulted in additional assessment around matters previously considered mitigated and managed (fish passage). New legislation introduced new matters for assessment (connectivity). Collaboration and engagement with stakeholders were key to understanding the applicability of these elements to the project and for developing an approach to address the legislative requirements late in the project’s development and assessment process.
In Queensland,policy is emerging to mitigate and manage impacts of development on the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area’s universal values. The EIS was required to address the direct project impacts on water quality and the impacts arising because of the LFRIP (facilitated development). Water secured by the LFRIP is for urban, industrial and agricultural purposes. Urban and industrial developments are well regulated and subject to specific environmental approvals processes. Use of water for agricultural purposes, intensive irrigated agriculture in particular,is less regulated. Policies developed are reactive and require individual projects to address these impacts.In the absence of regulatory guidelines for assessment of consequential impacts, the project adopted a collaborative approach. The proponents established a working group, including State and Commonwealth technical agencies. This allowed for robust and scientifically defendable methodologies to be developed and agreed upfront. Streamlining the approach by including key decision makers assisted in managing expectations and focused the assessment on realistic and achievable outcomes relative to the project. The result was defendable outcomes allowing timely decision making and avoided rework as much as possible.
This paper describes developments in environmental assessment relating to new and augmented weirs.
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Shayan Maleki, James Apostolidis, Tom Ewing, Virgilio Fiorotto
The stability analysis of dam spillways and stilling basin chutes requires the knowledge of the spatially fluctuating pressure at the bottom of the structure with reference to the large vortex system with dimensions comparable with the structure characteristic length of the order O (0.1 –1 m). In this context only the small frequency pressure fluctuations (smaller than 1 –10 hz in prototype) must be analyzed in Large Eddy Simulation (LES)context; while the higher frequency pressure fluctuations could be filtered given their negligible importance in relation to stability computations with reference to the spatial Taylor macroscale and fluctuating pressure variance evaluation. These two quantities allow us to define the variance of the force acting on the structure, and as a consequence via statistical analysis, the design force on the structure. This procedure is historically performed via.physical hydraulic modelling (PHM)where these quantities are measured in a laboratory setup. Considering the limits of.current industry approach to Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD), the use of Detached Eddy Simulation (DES) could become a valid low cost solution and could potentially be a valid method to perform preliminary studies in order to refine the design while avoiding expensive physical model modifications. In this paper, the pressure field at the base of a rectangular impinging jet is measured in laboratory flume setup and is compared with the numerical results obtained via equivalent DES simulations conducted in CFD.Maximum values and the structure of spatial correlation of the anisotropic field of fluctuating pressures are described in view of their relevance to the structural design of the lining of spillway stilling basins and other dissipations structures,as well as in view of their relevance to rock stability analysis. The comparison of the laboratory study with DES simulations presented in this paper shows a good agreement indicating.that this approach may eventually provide a lower.cost substitute for physical model studies in the design of stilling basins and plunge pools.However,it is acknowledged that virtually all stilling basins and plunge pools present a three-dimensional hydraulics complexity, and numerous.further studies need to be done.
Richard Herweynen, Suraj Neupane, Paul Southcott and Ashish B. Khanal
Kathmandu, the capital city of Nepal, is home to more than five million people. Three major rivers including the Bagmati run through the city of Kathmandu, providing the environmental and cultural lifelines for the civilisation and local people. High population growth in Kathmandu over the past 30years has put a serious environmental strain on the Bagmati River. Water is drawn from the Bagmati River for drinking, farming, industries and construction. Due to the lack of capacity in the current sewerage systems, untreated sewage is entering the river system, along with high quantities of rubbish. Although a holy river, the Bagmati River is highly degraded, with reduced flows, high pollution, and a fresh water ecosystem that is now destroyed.To revive the Bagmati River, the Government of Nepal with funding from the Asian Development Bank (ADB), is undertaking the Bagmati River Basin Improvement Project (BRBIP). One of the sub-projects is the construction of a dam on the Nagmati River to store water during the monsoon period for environmental release during dry season.Since November 2015, Entura have been involved in the investigation and detailed design of the Nagmati Dam. Through a simple storage model, it was determined that 8.2Mm 3 of live storage was required to meet the environmental flow objectives. To achieve this storage a 95m high dam was required at the Nagmati site, with a concrete faced rockfill dam (CFRD) determined to be the best option.This paper will present the development of this unique project, highlighting how a number of the challenges were addressed, leading to a sustainable project.
Zerui Lu, Behrooz Ghahreman-Nejad, Mahdi M. Disfani
Particle characterisation like size distribution and shape can greatly affect the mechanical behaviour of granular materials, and is closely related to the economics for engineering projects. For rockfill material in embankment dam construction, the particle size distribution (PSD) is fundamental to the design, quality control and numerical modelling. Traditionally, particle size distribution for engineering materials is obtained through physical sieving. However, with rockfill material, the size varies significantly and can range from gravels (+2mm) to cobbles (+60mm) and boulders (+200mm) with the maximum size usually limited to 1m, which makes the conventional sieving process considerably difficult to conduct as well as being time-consuming. Meanwhile, the advanced technology in computer image processing has created many possibilities in characterising particles within digital photographs, and therefore can be utilised as an effective alternative to the conventional sieve analysis. This method has been in use mainly in the mining industry over the past two decades to assist with rock fragmentation and process monitoring and control. Notwithstanding, the use of this technique in the dam industry for quality control of rockfill material has been rare. Thus, an innovative approach is proposed in this paper to estimate the PSD curves for rockfill material using image analysis along with the latest developments in aerial photography. The results of PSD analysis using the image processing software Split Desktop are presented and compared with the results from sieve analyses for verification. Recommendations are made to improve the process and increase the accuracy of the outcome. It is demonstrated that the proposed method has a reasonable accuracy and is a viable option for quality control in construction of rockfill structures such as rockfill embankment dams.
C.Jolly and J.Green
New rare design rainfalls were released for Australia in February 2017, for durations from one to seven days and probabilities from 1in 100Annual Exceedance Probability (AEP) up to 1 in 2000 AEP.The differences between the previous rare design rainfalls using estimated Cooperative Research Centre –FOcussed Rainfall Growth Estimation (CRC-FORGE) method and the new rare design rainfall estimates vary with location, duration and probability. In this paper, these differences are explored spatially through the use of national maps, comparing percentage change between the two datasets for selected durations and probabilities. Before this comparison with the new rare design rainfalls could be completed, the State-basedestimates had to be resampled and aggregated to form a national data set for Australia.For rare design rainfalls, it is often the catchment values that are required to determine the gross rainfall for design purposes. The impact of the revised areal reductions factors and rare design rainfalls is explored through case study catchments in Tasmania.
Mojtaba E. Kan, Hossein A. Taiebat and Mahdi Taiebat
In design of new embankment dams or evaluation of the performance of existing earthfill and rockfill dams, the Newmark-type Simplified Methods are widely used to estimate the earthquake-induced displacements. These methods are simple, inexpensive, and substantially less time consuming as compared to the complicated stress–deformation approaches. They are especially recommended by technical guidelines to be used as a screening tool, to identify embankments with marginal factor of safety. The methods would serve as a reliable screening tool had they always resulted in conservative estimates of settlements. However, a number of studies in the last 15 years show the contrary. This paper provides a critical review of the fundamental theory behind the simplified Newmark-type methods. Cases in which the results of the simplified methods are reportedly non conservative are further investigated and possible reasons are discussed, that may be taken into account in future design and investigations of Australian dams. The reliability of the simplified methods is examined based on the existing thresholds proposed in the literature and accounting for the embankment geometry and type, and for the seismic activity characterization. A recently proposed practical framework is further elaborated to demonstrate its effectiveness in the study of seismic behaviour of embankment dams. In particular, the case study of Zipingpu concrete faced rockfill dam in China is discussed where all widely used simplified procedures failed to predict the order of deformations experienced by the Dam under a recent strong earthquake event.