The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) is responsible for flood risk management across the United States. USACE has more than 710 dams and is responsible for more than 24,000 kilometres of levees. Since 2008, USACE projects have prevented more than AU$1.2 Trillion (in 2017 dollars) in damages from flooding. Although some of this came as a result of dozens of smaller floods, much of that protection came during three events within the last five years. From 2010 through 2017, the U.S. has had three major inland floods and two coastal events where federal flood protection exists: in 2010 on the Cumberland River, in 2011 on the Missouri, Ohio, White, and Mississippi Rivers, in 2015 on several rivers in Texas and Oklahoma, and in 2017 along the Gulf Coast of the U.S. and its territories in the Caribbean. For many of these locations, these events produced record rainfall and the flood of record. USACE operated many large facilities on these systems and those systems overall performed as expected. However, USACE also experienced some operational issues, did a substantial amount of flood fighting, had several incidents, and several failures. This paper will describe the flooding experienced in those events, the operations of the flood protection systems, the performance overall, and some of the lessons learned.
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Extreme flood analyses are routinely used as inputs to dam risk assessments, spillway adequacy assessments and spillway designs. Estimation methods applied in Australia using rainfall-runoff models in combination with a Probable Maximum Precipitation (PMP) estimate are consistent with the current best practice applied around the world. The estimation methods can, however, result in substantial variability in peak flow estimates depending upon the practitioner and the methods used to quantify model parameters. Around the world, validation procedures are commonly applied to combat this variability, but no such techniques are routinely applied in Australia. A method is proposed for application across Australia which may variously be applied to validate and constrain extreme flood estimates and also provide quick estimates.
Millions of dollars are spent on dam upgrade works which are often undertaken to meet the flood security requirements. Prioritisation of the dam upgrade work is based on portfolio risk assessments in which dambreak modelling is an integral part. Concurrent design flow hydrographs of tributaries downstream of dam are required for the assessment of the incremental effect of a dam break scenario. The Annual Exceedance Probability (AEP) neutral concurrent tributary flows can be estimated using a bivariate-normal distribution approach.
This paper examines the underlying assumptions made in the application of the bivariate normal distribution approach using observed and design rainfall data for Avon Dam and its downstream tributary catchments. Synthetically generated data was used to illustrate the impact of the log-normal distribution assumption on the AEP neutral concurrent tributary rainfalls. This paper suggests a modification to the bivariate-normal distribution approach to estimate more unbiased AEP neutral concurrent design rainfalls. The use of historical gridded rainfall in the estimation of inter-catchment rainfall correlation is also demonstrated.
Kangaroo Creek Dam is a concrete face rockfill dam (CFRD) located on the Torrens River, approximately 22 km north east of Adelaide. The dam is currently undergoing a major upgrade to align it with updated safety guidelines set by the Australian National Committee on Large Dams (ANCOLD) to better withstand major flood events or earthquakes. As part of this upgrade, external omega-type waterstops have been installed on the vertical and perimetric joints to mitigate the impact of expected joint deformations due to seismic loading. Two profiles were selected for the external waterstops; one capable of extending 200 mm for the perimetric joint and the outer two vertical joints on each side, and one capable of extending 100 mm for the remaining vertical joints and the horizontal joint between the new face slab and the original face slab. Using the external omega-type waterstops as the second waterstop for the extended perimetric joint simplified construction, particularly with respect to reinforcement details adjacent to joints. It is understood that this is the first time in Australia that an omega-type waterstop is being fitted to a CFRD slab. This paper demonstrates the benefits of retrofitting waterstops to existing dam joints when required, provides general installation details, details for providing a continuous barrier with the existing waterstops by overlapping internal and external waterstops, and lessons learnt from the waterstop installation.
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.
The notion of probability and its various interpretations brings numerous opportunities for errors and misunderstandings. This is particularly true of contemporary risk analysis for dams that mostly consider geotechnical, hydraulic, and structural capacities subjected to extreme loads considered as independent evets. In these analyses subjective “degree of belief” probability has a major role, both in the modelling of the risk in the system by means of event trees based on inductive reasoning and in the assignment of probabilities to events in the event tree. There are numerous situations where physically possible conditions are eliminated from consideration in a risk analysis on the basis of probabilities that are judged to be too low to be of relevance. This is despite the fact that the assignment of a probability to a condition means that the occurrence of the event or condition is inevitable sometime, with the added complication that the time of occurrence is unknown and unknowable. Although there is no relationship between a remote probability and the possibility (or credibility) of the occurrence of the event in the event tree, it is quite common for physically feasible conditions to be either eliminated or their importance discounted on the basis of low probability in a risk assessment of a dam. Twenty five years ago, this elimination process might have been referred to as “judicious pruning of the event tree”. In more modern parlance, the elimination process is based on consideration of whether or not the condition or sequence of events is clearly so remote a possibility as to be non-credible or not reasonable to postulate. In contrast to the consideration of extreme loads vs. structural or geotechnical capacities, experience has shown that many dam failures and perhaps the majority of dam incidents do not result from extreme geophysical loads, but rather from operational factors. These incidents and failures occur because an unusual combination of reasonably common events occurs, and that unusual combination of events has a bad outcome. For example, a moderately high reservoir inflow occurs, but nowhere near extreme; the sensor and SCADA system fail to provide early warning for some unanticipated reason; one or more spillway gates are unavailable due to maintenance, or an operator makes an error, or there is no operator on site and it takes a long time for one to arrive; and the pool was uncommonly high at the time. This chain of reasonable events, none by itself particularly dangerous, can in combination lead to an incident or even a failure. This leads to the unnerving conclusions that; our estimates of risk made in terms of best available practice using the best available estimates will be underestimates of the actual risk, and the extent to which we underestimate the risk is unknowable. This paper examines why these improbable events occur and what can be done to prevent them. Some implications with respect to the endeavour of risk evaluation are also considered.