In recent years, there has been greater expectations of waterway barriers to have more consideration of environmental factors; in particular associated with facilitating biopassage across the site.
The scope of the Gympie Weir Detailed Design Project included facilitating biopassage to as many aquatic species as possible,including the protected Mary River Turtle,while maintaining the required gauging accuracy and public amenities.Very rarely has a turtle been observed successfully traversing a fishway, as the designed velocity and depth criteria required to optimise fish passage is unsuitable for turtle passage. Thus for Gympie Weir,a leading-edge innovative solution was designed.
The design incorporates a low flow trapezoidal fishway chute, high flow rock ramp and turtle ramp. The turtle passage is the first of its kind and includes a curved concrete ramp with a variety of textures, two resting pools with protective niches, and limited vertical drop heights. Construction of the weir is intended for the near future and ongoing monitoring will be critical to assessing and improving performance, as well as contributing to the scientific knowledge base for future designs.
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
Elaine Pang, Robert Fowden
There are numerous established methods available for assessing the consequences of failure for earthen water dams.The estimation of breach dimensions and failure times remains the greatest common area of uncertainty, particularly for dams under 10m in height, where the number of historic records behind the established methods reduces considerably.Also, various factors can have a significant impact on the strength of small dam embankments, potentially contributing to the likelihood of failure.Consequently, failure impact assessments for smaller dams may rely more heavily on the engineering judgement of the responsible engineer. Although the consequences of failure may indeed be lower for smaller dams, the large number of unknown or unregulated dams in some locations means that it can be difficult to quantify their overall contribution in terms of dam safety risk. This paper presents an on-going project to compile and analyse observed small earthen dam failures with the intent of refining existing statistical breach relationships for smaller dams.Context is provided through an overview of DEWS’ investigative program, including the presentation of several case studies which highlight field data collected throughout the program.
Paul S. Meeks
In June 2008 a young girl kayaking at a hydroelectric control dam owned by Alcan in Quebec Canada, tragically drowned when she was swept through the open spillgates. The public safety boat barrier, installed the year before, failed to prevent this accident. In June 2015, Stephen Hembree took his daughter and 7 of her friends out for a pontoon boat ride on Lake Linganore to celebrate her 16th birthday. A short time later, Mr. Hembree was dead while his daughter and her friends were be rescued by helicopter as they clung to boulders in the spillway. Contrast these incidents to one in March 2017, when the public safety boat barrier installed by Alliant Energy at Kilbourn Dam was credited with preventing the loss of life after a woman fell into the river above the dam. What went wrong in the first 2 instances and what can we learn from the third incident? What steps can dam owners take to prevent accidents like these from happening?
The first two incidents represent preventable loss of life at a dam while the third incident proves how a proactive approach to public safety results in reduced liability for dam owners and lower loss of life. In the Alcan instance, the public safety barrier installed to prevent this very scenario was instead installed in a location that doomed the girl even before she set her kayak in the water. The second instance demonstrates how a dam owners lack of risk awareness coupled with a boat owners carelessness resulted in a fatality.
Using the incidents above, this presentation, modeled after the Canadian Dam Associations Guidelines for Public Safety Around Dams, will educate owners and operators how to identify “dangerous” zones above and below dams. We will consider the effects of surface water velocity of individual survivability and barrier effectiveness. Flow-3D models will be shown to illustrate the effect of barrier alignment and velocity to increase an individual’s ability to “self-rescue”. Lastly, we will integrate within the presentation practical guidelines for the use of signage, sign size, lettering height and message consistency. The presentation will conclude by examining lessons learned in the Alcan incident and presenting how a proper public safety barrier and signage plan would be implemented.
More people have died from accidents around dams than have died from dam failures. The Canadian Dam Association published its guidelines in 2011 and the result has seen a significant reduction in fatalities and injuries as a result of recreating around Canadian Dams. The United States Society on Dams (USSD), the Association of State Dam Safety Officials (ASDSO) and the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) all have embarked on efforts, modeled in large part around the CDA Guidelines to bring Public Safety out of the dam safety toolbox so Public Safety is viewed as a separate managed system. This is being conducted in an effort to educate and alert dam owners, operators and recreational users to hazards and risks in and around dams.
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.
Andrew Northfield, Simon Lang, Peter Hill
Melbourne Water currently manages more than230retarding basins (RBs). A large portion of these are less than 4 metres high, and traditionally structures of this size have not been subject to intermediate or detailed ANCOLD Consequence Assessments. However, the need to understand the failure consequences for smaller structures has increased over time, as risk based approaches to managing safety have expanded from large dams to other water retaining assets.
Undertaking detailed consequence assessments for all Melbourne Water’s RBs would not be practical, given the costs and time involved. Therefore, this paper describes a method for assessing the level of ANCOLD Consequence Assessment that is justified, based on the structure’s attributes. It also presents an equation that was used to estimate peak outflows from RB failure. The peak outflow estimates can be used to model approximate failure inundation extents downstream of small dams and RBs.
The paper draws on work that HARC have recently undertaken for Melbourne Water to assess the failure consequences for 88 RBs. The outcomes are relevant to other organisations that own or manage significant numbers of small water dams or RBs.