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.
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.
Tom Ridgway, Chris Topham, Aaron Brimfield
A significant number of dams across Australia are of earthen construction and may be susceptible to internal erosion of their earth core, also known as piping. In January of 2016, during an annual inspection of the Tarraleah No 1 Pond Levee it was found that the embankment was experiencing significant seepage at the toe. Further investigations found actively developing piping holes through the embankment. To better understand the condition of the dam, HydroTasmania’s remote monitoring trailer was deployed to provide telemetered seepage data to further understand the developing issue. It was found that the leakage was increasing dramatically, and carrying suspended core material, resulting in the need for prompt resolution to protect the embankment from further loss of material. A sheet piling wall was installed in the centre of the embankment to cut off the flow of water through the embankment. After the installation of the sheet piling wall, post works monitoring showed the seepage through the embankment reduced to virtually zero, only peaking in rainfall events. This paper outlines the investigation and management of the incident, and the mitigation measures put in place from the time of identification including the use of a sheet piling wall to mitigate a developing piping failure. The paper will conclude with the outcomes of the work and how a similar solution could be utilised for other dam owners in a piping event.
Jiri Herza, Michael Ashley, James Thorp
The principle of minimum acceptable factors of safety has been used to assess the stability of embankment dams for decades. The commonly applied minimum acceptable factors of safety remain very similar to those recommended in the early 1970’s, despite the development of new design tools and better understanding of material behaviour. The purpose of factors of safety is to ensure reliability of the dam design and to account for uncertainties and variability of dam and foundation material parameters, uncertainties of design loads and limitations of the analysis method used. The impact of uncertainties and reliability of input values into stability analyses was recognised many decades ago, and the factor of safety was recommended depending on the loading conditions and the consequences of failure or unacceptable performance. Interestingly, the minimum recommended factors of safety used today do not take into account the potential consequences of dam failure or the uncertainties in input values, and are based on the loading conditions only. Yet, several authors have demonstrated that a higher factor of safety does not necessarily result in a lower probability of failure, as the analysis also depends on the quality of investigations, testing, design and construction. This paper summarises the history of the factor of safety principle in dam engineering, discusses the calculation of the factor of safety using commonly used analytical tools, demonstrates the impact of uncertainties using a case study and provides recommendations for potential improvements.
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.
Monique Eggenhuizen, Peter Buchanan, Reena Ram, Tusitha Karunaratne
The Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning (DELWP) has a regulatory role for the safety of dams under the Water Act 1989 (Act) and is the control agency for dam related emergencies. Local Government in Victoria is divided up between 79 LocalGovernment Authorities (LGAs), each responsible for administering local infrastructure and community services such as roads, drainage, parks etc. Current records indicate that 42 of the 79 LGAs own or manage up to 435 dams and retarding basins.Many of these assets, which include a mix of old water supply dams, ornamental lakes and retarding basins, have been accumulated by LGAs over many years as a result of asset transfers and conversions, land development projects, flood mitigation programs and opportunistic acquisitions by the transfer of land. DELWP engaged GHD to assist and provide advice to the LGAs to significantly improve and update knowledge on LGA dams and retarding basins. The objective of this project is to ascertain where the State’s LGA dams and retarding basins are located, what risks they might pose to communities and infrastructure, what to consider during emergency management planning and response, and to provide owners with the essential management tools and procedures to effectively manage these assets, if these are not in place already.The outcome of this project was to support LGAs to improve management of their dams and retarding basins. It aimed to do this by assisting LGAs with the development of basic dam safety programs that will enable LGAs to more effectively manage their portfolios of dams and retarding basins in terms of ongoing maintenance, dam surveillance and emergency planning and response, and demonstrate due care.This project had a number of key challenges. These included the requirement to process and assess a large number of sites within a small timeframe whilst achieving good value for money,without compromising DELWP’s objectives. A number of efficient methods were adopted during this project particularly during the initial data gathering process, identifying those dams which needed to be inspected based on embankment heights, reservoir capacity and consequences, rapid preliminary assessment of consequences, the development of effective templates for the site inspections, and a method of applying qualitative risk assessments, applicable to the majority of the dams, allowing a consistent assessment of the status of each dam and damsafety documentation.The methods discussed(although developed specifically for the Victorian LGA dams portfolio)provide a sound basis for a screening tool to assess a large number of smaller dams in an efficient manner and quickly identify higher consequence category dams requiring attention. This method could easily be modified and adapted to be applied to similar portfolios of dams.