The assessment of the geological foundations of arch dams is required as part of the asset owner’s safety obligations (ANCOLD 2003). The task is often made difficult due to steep topography where arch dams are commonly constructed. Between 2013 and 2017, GHD was engaged by South Australia Water (SA Water) to examine the geological and geotechnical conditions of the Sturt River Flood Attenuation Dam (South Australia) abutment foundations. The dam was constructed between 1964 and 1966 within the Proterozoic “Sturt Tillite”. The foundations of the dam are characterised by a folded and fractured rock mass which creates complex spatial relationships between discontinuities and outcrop expression, difficult to assess in two-dimensional space. In collaboration with Monash University’s School of Earth, Atmosphere and Environment, a high resolution ortho-photogrammetric survey of the downstream dam abutments was undertaken using an Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) in areas where traditional mapping could only be obtained by rope access methods. Monash also undertook digital geological mapping of inferred discontinuities based on the UAV imagery. The data was then used to construct a three-dimensional (3D) model of the shape and position of high-persistence discontinuities, potentially critical to abutment stability. In addition to digital data, a low cost, high value field investigation to “ground-truth” the digital data and reviewed existing geological information (including rope access scanline data, foundation mapping and rotary cored boreholes) to develop a holistic understanding of the persistent discontinuities in their geological context.
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Yarrawonga and Torrumbarry Weirs; located on the Murray River bordering Victoria and New South
Wales, are operated by Goulburn Murray Water on behalf of the Murray Darling Basin Authority.
The electrical and control systems that operate both structures were nearing 20 years of age, resulting in risk associated with equipment nearing the end of its useful working life and hardware obsolescence, driving this upgrade program. These control systems are critical in the monitoring and management of river levels and flows that extensively affect Victorian and New South Wales irrigation supplies and recreational users on the Murray River and Lake Mulwala.
Considerable effort was required to update and develop the control philosophy before proceeding to the design phase of the projects. The requirement to work on these brownfield sites, while maintaining operational ability and minimising dam safety and water delivery risks, resulted in a significant implementation and commissioning process. During the course of these works, the opportunity was also taken to enhance and update remote monitoring capability.
The lessons learnt on these projects are being incorporated into current Electrical and Control System Upgrade projects at Cairn Curran Reservoir and Dartmouth Dam.
There are a number of software packages that have been developed to conduct Probabilistic Seismic Hazard Assessments (PSHA’s). Each one has advantages and disadvantages. Two such programs are compared; the licenced subscription-based EZ-FRISK software package developed by Fugro USA Land, Inc. and the open-sourced OpenQuake-engine (OQ) software package by the Global Earthquake Model (GEM) Foundation. Both of these packages use the classical PSHA methodology as described by Cornell (1968) and modified by McGuire (1976). Each of these packages offers different advantages; OQ is freely distributed, code based and provides easy access to a number of tools. EZ-FRISK doesn’t rely on command-line tools and instead provides an easy user interface with quick access to plots to check results. EZ-FRISK is computationally faster than the OQ program.
A simple rectangular source model with four sites was used to investigate the degree of agreement between these two software packages. Results indicate that hazard estimates from the two packages agree to within 4% for the two closest sites. At long return periods for the two furthest sites, the difference is larger.
Lake Buffalo located on the Buffalo River near Myrtleford in Victoria was constructed in the 1960s as a cofferdam for the then proposed Big Buffalo dam. Consequently, the dam was designed for a short life (<10 years) and design features and criteria for a permanent dam were not implemented.
Critical features include a primary spillway with three vertical lift gates, two outlet conduits located
through the spillway piers, a single upstream valve on each outlet conduit for regulation and isolation, and a multi-part bulkhead which is installed in front of the valves for inspection and maintenance.
With the continued operation of the dam beyond 60 years, upgrades appropriate to a permanent dam have been implemented, including addressing deficiencies with spillway gate hoists lifting equipment and redundancy of the outlet conduit vales. This proved challenging, as the operation of spillway structures does not readily align with industry or Australian Standards. This paper will outline the issues encountered, their resolution and the lessons learnt during this upgrade work.
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.
Multiple-arch dam technology enjoyed a certain popularity between the fifties and seventies, but was later discontinued for practical reasons. The multiple-arch dam that is the subject of this paper is especially peculiar since it was built using prefabricated elements and a combination of several pre-stressed steel systems.
This dam consists of 17 buttressed arches with a maximum height of 35 m on a limestone and dolostone foundation. It has a crest length of 531 m and a 15 hm3 reservoir. After 55 years in operation, several apparent degradations have surfaced and a study on the safety of the dam is currently being carried out.
The main concern is the dam’s structural safety, which is apparently linked to the integrity of the post-stressed steel elements and the precast elements in the arches. This paper describes the approach chosen for the remediation study, the visual inspection, and the tests developed on the post-stressed steel and concrete, in order to feed a 3D numerical model of the structure.