Paul Southcott,Suraj Neupane and David Krushka
TasWater owns and operates the water supply in Queenstown on the west coast of Tasmania. Anew water treatment plant was constructed downstream from one of the seven small dams that made up the original supply system, making the remaining six dams redundant.Two of these dams hada very high annual probability of failure and unacceptable societal life and financial risk due to their poor condition.Both dams required urgent attention (upgrade) to retain them as a lasting asset and legacy for the community or decommissioning to create a new ecological legacy.Roaring Meg Dam (6m high with a 9ML capacity) was constructed on Roaring Meg Creek around 1963. The Cutten Street Dam No 3 (10m high with a 2.4ML capacity) was constructed on Reservoir Creek around 1902to supply water to a growing mining community and had been in use since then. From a heritage perspective, the dam had some value as a timber crib and rockfill dam and its historical context as a key factor in the development of the town.There is limited guidance in the ANCOLD (2003) Dam Safety Management Guidelines on decommissioning and a process had to be developed in cooperation with the Regulator in this relatively new area of dam engineering. Detailed design of the decommissioning including diversion work during decommissioning, channel design to align with the original creek to help restore its ecological function and rehabilitation work on the exposed reservoir soils to stabilise them were undertaken. Aboriginal and historic heritage studies, flora & fauna studies and fluvio-geomorphological study at the dam sites were also undertaken to ensure that the decommissioning work did not interfere with the heritage, threatened species and riparian processes. The community were consulted to ensure acceptance of the changes to their town. Dam safety emergency management plans for the decommissioning of these dams was were also prepared. A significant issue in the decommissioning work was frequent and high rainfall due to the location of these dams on the west coast of Tasmania. The entire dam removal work had to be planned within the window of dry weather or very little rainfall. This paper presents the process, activities and lessons learned in successfully decommissioning these dams,to eliminate the unacceptably high risks posed by these dams and to restore the normal riparian processes.The general approach adopted for this project has applicability for other damsandis proposed as a starting point for an ANCOLD practice note in this area
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Mark Pearse, Peter Hill
Risk assessments for large dams and the design of upgrades are often dependent on estimates of peak inflows and outflows well beyond those observed in the historic record. The flood frequencies are therefore simulated using rainfall-runoff models and design rainfalls. The recent update of Australian Rainfall and Runoff (ARR) has revised the design rainfalls used to model floods that are of interest to dam owners. This will change the best estimate of flood frequencies for some dams. However, for most dams the impact of revised design rainfalls on flood frequencies is small compared to other factors that can change (independent of dam upgrades). These include model re-calibrations to larger floods, changes to operating procedures that affect the drawdown distribution and improvements in how the joint probabilities of flood causing factors are simulated. In this paper, we look at how the design flood frequencies for some of Australia’s large dams have changed, the reasons for this and then identify five key questions for dam owners to ask to aid assessment of whether the hydrology for a dam should be reviewed
Although the total tailings dam failure frequency peaked in 1960s through 1980s, the failure rate of significant tailings dams has not dropped. The significant tailings dam failures the mining industry experienced in the recent history include: Merriespruit, South Africa, 1994; Los Frails, Spain, 1998; Kolontár, Hungry, 2010; Mount Polley, Canada, 2014; and Samarco, Brazil, 2015. The dam failures may be due to inadequate design, poor construction and inappropriate operations.This paper discusses the lessons learned and some recommendations and good practices to reduce the tailings dam failure risks. It addresses existing issues and provides some recommendations in risk based design, water management-integrity of facilities and water balance modelling, loading rates, tailings farming, adequate governance and roles and responsibilities of designers and nominated engineer.
Steven E Pells, Philip J N Pells
Junction reefs dam was designed in 1895 and constructed by 1897 as a multiple arch brick structure which was the first of its kind in Australia, and one of the earliest in the world. The dam was envisioned to provide mechanical and electrical power for gold mining. This paper provides an historical overview of the unique structure, and reassesses some of its engineering characteristics, such as the stress conditions in its unusual arches and reverse concrete gravity wing walls. The hydrology of the dam is re-assessed from the viewpoint of evaluating its potential as a mini hydro scheme. Commentary is also provided on the performance of its unlined spillway, which has been subject to regular spills for 120 years.
James Stuart, Michael Hughes
Several recent rain events in Australia have resulted in impoundment flood levels where there was a surprising variability between the Annual Exceedance Probability (AEP) of the flood level and that of the rainfall. The issue was highlighted during the Queensland Flood Commission of Inquiry (QFCI, 2011) by the Queensland Dam Safety Regulator who suggested there may be a problem with design hydrology after a dam safety event that saw impoundment levels of around 1:9000 AEP with a 1:200 AEP catchment rainfall at North Pine Dam, north of Brisbane in 2011. Wide disparities have occurred at Wivenhoe Dam west of Brisbane, at Callide Dam, west of Gladstone and at other locations.
This paper examines the Generalised Short Duration Method (GSDM) (BoM, 2003) and the Revised Generalised Tropical Storm Method (GTSMR) (BoM, 2003) typically used for dam flood capacity assessments in an attempt to explain the variability outlined above and whether it is, in part, exacerbated by the methods themselves.
It finds that processes of generalising rainfall depth, intensity, temporal and spatial characteristics are working together with adopted hydrological methods to contribute to such variability, that in the worst case could lead to PMF levels in dams with much less rainfall than the associated PMP would infer.
Moreover, two key assumptions; that of AEP neutrality (AEP of rainfall is equal to that of the flood) and frequency of PMP based on catchment area, which are the foundations stones of our understanding of flood frequency for large structures, are found to be untested or simply interim advice. This leads to the conclusion that the likelihood of floods in the range 2000 year AEP to PMF may continue to show surprising variability, potentially of an order of magnitude or more, compared to the rainfall AEP.
There is a need for a review of these methods and potentially provision of interim guidance as these methods are currently being used in dam upgrade programs throughout Australia and are also the basis for emergency planning. The identification of these issues concerns current methods and are independent to any discussion on climate change.Prior to commencing, it is worth defining two terms that re-occur throughout the document:
Annual Exceedance Probability (AEP): The probability that a given rainfall total accumulated over a given duration will be exceeded in any one year. AEP Neutrality is the theory that assumes the probability of the rainfall can be transferred to the resulting flood.
Average Variability Method (AVM): Technique for estimating design temporal pattern of average variability to ensure AEP Neutrality in transition from PMP to PMP design flood
Paul Somerville, Andreas Skarlatoudis and Don Macfarlane
The 2017 draft ANCOLD Guidelines for Design of Dams and Appurtenant Structures for Earthquake specify that active faults (with movement in the last 11,000 to 35,000 years) and neotectonic faults (with movement in the current crustal stress regime, in the past 5 to 10 million years) which could significantly contribute to the ground motion for the dam should be identified, and be accounted for in the seismic hazard assessment. The purpose of this paper is to provide guidance on the conditions under which these contributions could be significant in a probabilistic seismic hazard analysis (PSHA)and a deterministic seismic hazard analysis (DSHA).We consider five primary conditions under which identified faults can contribute significantly to the hazard: proximity, probability of activity, rate of activity, magnitude distribution, and return period under consideration