Since publication in 2003, the ANCOLD Guidelines for Risk Assessment have reached broad acceptance and use in Australia. In practice, dam owners use the principles of risk assessment to drive business investment decisions. As the guidelines undergo revision, it is timely to assess whether our practices need to evolve to more holistically consider all types of consequences, rather than our current focus on loss of life, in decision-making. This paper aims to prompt dam owners and consultants alike to re-assess our focus on loss of life in risk assessment decision-making, and whether we should more meaningfully consider alternative or broader indicators.
An industry survey was undertaken which found that large dam owners are generally happy with the current system of dam safety decision making. However, the survey responses did identify difficulties in relation to justifying investment below the limit of tolerability that are subject to ALARP principles. In a small number of cases, dam owners found it difficult to justify investment when life safety was not important.
Building on the industry survey and subsequent discussions with practitioners, this paper discusses how the current approach to risk based decision making may result in sub optimal decision making. Further it is discussed how there is an important role that economics should play in providing a universally accepted framework for assessing trade-offs and providing consistent evidence to support decision making.
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This paper provides an outline of the design and construction of the works undertaken to refurbish the 120 year old intake tower at Mundaring Weir. The project drivers included asset condition, hydraulic capacity, reduction in unusable storage, and reduction in evaporation from the reservoir. The one off sale of this water together with the present value of the reduction in evaporation pays for the project construction and is a significant response to climate change that is taking place in the region. The effects of Alkali Aggregate Reaction (AAR) compromised the efficacy of the Intake Tower operating as a dry-well, while the small diameter and significant corrosion of cast iron pipes and valves had severely diminished the service capacity of the structure. The solution implemented in this project included: lining the Intake Tower with a 37 m long by 2.7 m diameter 316 stainless steel liner; construction of a new inlet 15 m below the reservoir surface using a bespoke underwater coring rig; relining of existing pipes through the dam wall; and new outlet control pipework and valves downstream of the dam.
Global climate change will amplify existing risks, as well as create new risks for natural and human systems. Recent climate changes have already had widespread impacts on human and natural systems. Dams provide a range of economic, environmental and social benefits including irrigation, flood control, water supply, hydroelectric power, recreation and wildlife habitat and play an important role in human settlement. Adapting into the effects of climate change is vitally important for future management of dams. This paper uses the recent drought and floods in Victoria to illustrate the importance of considering the effects of climate change in design, operations, maintenance and emergency management of dams.
The evaluation of the maximum instantaneous uplift force produced by turbulent pressure fluctuations plays a key role in designing concrete slab protection in spillway chutes and stilling basins. Recent incidents involving damage to chute linings have highlighted the significance of this issue. To evaluate the stability of spillway stilling basin slabs, it is necessary to determine the statistical structure of the turbulent pressure fluctuations in the spillway chute and stilling basin. This can be defined by an extensive experimental work with a scale Physical Hydraulic Model (PHM). This exercise can be prohibitively expensive in terms of time and cost and it is proposed that the use of Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) in this application could become a cost effective alternative. A new approach using Detached Eddy Simulation (DES) was applied to the case of a scale physical hydraulic model representing a real-world prototype and the results of the simulation were compared with the direct laboratory measurements. Here the forces and pressures acting on the slabs are evaluated using both CFD and physical hydraulic modelling results. In conclusion, some considerations on the design of slabs with unsealed joints are reported and discussed.
While structures such as a dam walls, pipelines, gas storage tanks, and nuclear facilities are vulnerable to the shaking from earthquakes, they are even more susceptible to differential movement on faults passing beneath their foundations.
In the past, the probability of surface rupture of a fault was calculated by making some simplistic assumptions about the distribution of earthquake magnitudes. Improved databases of earthquake ground faulting now allow the probability of surface rupture to be estimated in a more realistic fashion. Computing software that uses a Monte Carlo approach has been developed to allow the effect of various scenario choices on rupture probability to be investigated.
Using this software, it is found that the most significant influence on rupture probability is the long-term fault slip-rate. Other assumptions about the faulting style, maximum magnitude and conversion parameters have only a moderate influence on the results.
There have been several instances in recent history in Australia of surface faulting due to earthquakes, but there has been only limited damage to infrastructure due to the remoteness of these earthquakes. The software that has been developed will allow a considered assessment and comparison of the hazard and risk due to both ground shaking from earthquakes and from surface rupture.
Lessons learned from recent major incidents and related enquiries in Victoria in concert with the adoption
of an all-emergencies all-communities philosophy have informed both the scope and reach of the current
emergency management and dam safety regulatory environment. Victorian dam owners now have a statutory
obligation to implement an all-emergencies all-communities approach to risk assessment at their assets and,
as part of that, to adopt this approach as part of their “business as usual” activities. A major outcome of
this requirement is that for major dams, risk management is now being driven from Board and senior
management level: the implementation of controls and actions is formalised. As a consequence, there is a
better understanding across the organisation of new and emerging risks that require new technologies,
thinking and expertise and an improved appreciation of asset interdependencies and the risk posed to reliant
stakeholders. With other reforms including oversight and audit arrangements in place, the move from “doing
enough” to striving for “good’ industry practice, aided by an improved regulatory regime and statutory
processes, is well established. A brief consideration of the lessons learned from the February 2017 Oroville
dam incident in this context concludes the paper.