Peter Allen and Mark Rhimes
Recent tropical cyclones have had significant impacts on coastal Queensland and produced significant inflows into a large number of major dams with the triggering of a number of Emergency Action Plans for downstream release hazards. While there were several floods of record, there were no significant dam safety incidents. The dams seemed to have been blamed for a lot of this flooding even though they provided significant flood mitigation. This paper will cover the emergency responses to these events, the public perceptions and the associated third party reviews of these events. Community expectations and the ability to undertake post flood event assessments of dam operations is also driving such investigations.This paper will also discuss the consequential updates being made to Queensland Emergency Action Planning Guidelines to encourage effective engagement with local emergency planners and other stakeholders in the development of these guidelines.
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
This paper explores the role of the Lenders’ Technical Advisor (LTA) in identifying and mitigating risks in hydropower dam projects on behalf of the project lenders. It describes the LTA services that are required to manage the pre-financial close, construction and financing periods.
There are differing types of risk in both large and small hydropower projects (contractual, commercial, participant, completion, country, technology, reputational, environmental and social, etc.) and these are discussed with regard to how the lenders may be exposed if the risk eventuates either during dam construction or in operation.
Whereas a large dam for water supply would in its own right be a major project, the dam(s) associated with large hydropower will likely represent less than 25% of the total project cost and with this imbalance comes competing drivers for the other components (tunnels, waterways, powerhouse, M&E equipment, transmission lines, substations, etc).
The paper discusses the typical process whereby a hydropower developer has procured a feasibility study and is working towards financial close — covering both large and small types, i.e. storage dams and run-of-river diversion weir types, and the noticeable trend for fast-tracked developments to make a single large step from feasibility study through to engineer-procure-construct (EPC) contracting. This scenario presents some challenges for the initial due diligence when assessing in the pre-financial close stage.
The paper draws on case studies from the Asia Pacific region to illustrate the key elements in hydropower project financing from the LTA’s perspective, together with the author’s recent and current experience on multiple hydropower projects across Asia and Africa in the run-of-river, storage reservoir and pumped storage type of plants. It also brings together findings from the author’s own recent papers on the subjects of hydropower feasibility studies, the roles of lenders, owners and advisors, and tailored for an ANCOLD audience where the focus is on the dams component of hydropower.
Keywords: Lenders’ Technical Advisor, Dams, Hydropower.
Tank Hill Reservoir is located approximately 25km north-east of Warrnambool and forms part of the fresh water supply for the town. It was built in the 1930’s by the construction of an earthfill dam across the natural breach of the crater of an extinct volcano. The reservoir is an offline storage with a small natural catchment and has a nominal capacity of 770ML at Full Supply Level (FSL). The reservoir is operated by South West Water Authority (SWWA).
Previous investigations had identified instability issues associated with the dam embankment and the necessity for remedial work to increase the stability of the dam embankment. SKM undertook detailed survey and investigations and the proposed upgrade works include the construction of a downstream stabilising berm incorporating graded filters and a drainage system. The condition of the outlet works was investigated as part of the project, with some of these works found to be in poor condition with a risk to the security of supply, necessitating the design of refurbishment of the outlet works. The degree of siltation of the reservoir was also assessed, and some loss of capacity due to siltation was noted.
Detailed investigations were performed to determine the optimum configuration of the stabilising berm and to locate and test suitable construction materials. The embankment interface filters were designed to satisfy modern filter design criteria and were incorporated in the embankment drainage system. The condition of the outlet works, including the intake standpipe, three offtake valves and the outlet conduit beneath the embankment, were assessed via manual and CCTV inspections. An operation review, incorporating the proposed upgrade works within the framework of ongoing operation of the reservoir for supply to downstream customers was also prepared, as was a construction risk assessment.
This paper will present “extremely useful practical information” for dam design engineers, owners and operators where the whole spectrum of dam safety issues is required for the successful completion of remedial works design and construction.
Colleen Baker, Sean Ladiges, Peter Buchanan, James Willey, Malcolm Barker
Dam Owners and Designers are often posed with the question “what is an acceptable flood risk to adopt during the construction of dam upgrade works?” Both the current ANCOLD Guidelines on Acceptable Flood Capacity (2000) and the draft Guidelines on Acceptable Flood Capacity (2016) provide guidance on the acceptability of flood risk during the construction phase. The overarching principle in both the current and draft documents is that the dam safety risk should be no greater than prior to the works, unless it can be shown that this cannot reasonably be achieved.Typically with dam upgrade projects it is not feasible to take reservoirs off-line during upgrade works, with commercial and societal considerations taking precedent. It is therefore often necessary to operate the reservoir at normal levels or with only limited drawdown. The implementation of measures to maintain the risk at or below that of the pre-upgraded dam can have significant financial and program impacts on projects, such as through the construction of elaborate cofferdam arrangements and/or staging of works. This is particularly the case where upgrade works involve modifications to the dam’s spillway.The use of risk assessment has provided a reasonable basis for evaluating the existing and incremental risks associated with the works, such as the requirement for implementation of critical construction works during periods where floods are less likely, in order to justify the As Low As Reasonably Practicable (ALARP) position. This paper explores the ANCOLD guidelines addressing flood risk, and compares against international practice. The paper also presents a number of case studies of construction flood risk mitigation adopted for dam upgrades on some of Australia’s High and Extreme consequence dams, as well as international examples. The case studies demonstrate a range of construction approaches which enable compliance with the ANCOLD Acceptable Flood Capacity guidelines