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.
In 2015, a study was undertaken where recommendations were made to provide protection to the exposed rock in the unlined channel of the spillway at Burdekin Falls Dam. The protection included a matrix of anchor bars which extended the full 504 m width of the spillway and 25 m in the downstream direction. Over 1,200 anchors were proposed comprising 36 mm diameter bar extending up to 15 m into the foundation.
A value engineering study was undertaken in 2017 where a review of the rock scour potential was undertaken. The study was based on a methodology developed by Pells (2016) as part of a research grant funded under an Australian Research Council (ARC) Linkage Project which was jointly financed by the Federal Government of Australia, various state government bodies and engineering consultancies involved in dam design, operations and management.
This paper describes the approach taken as part of the value engineering study, the methods used in the assessment and the benefits of both innovative thinking and challenging the more traditional approach of rock scour assessment, the outcome of which resulted in a $11 m plus saving to the owner of the asset.
Oroville Dam is located on the Feather River in northern California (USA). At 234.7 m (770-ft) tall, this earth embankment is the tallest dam in the United States. With its 4.3 billion m3 (3.5 million acre-feet) of storage, Lake Oroville is the second largest reservoir in California, supplying water to cities as far south as Los Angeles. The Oroville Dam, reservoir (Lake Oroville), and hydropower plant facility is the flagship of the State Water Project (SWP), which is owned and operated by the State of California, Department of Water Resources (DWR).
The paper describes the development of UK guidance on reservoir drawdown capacity. The guidance provides for a consistent thought process to be used in determining the recommended capacity. A basic recommended standard is proposed for embankment dams which varies with the consequences of failure of a dam. The drawdown rate for the highest consequence dams is 5% dam height/day with an upper limit of 1m/day. Engineering judgement is used to vary this standard allowing for ‘other considerations’ including the vulnerability to rapid dam failure, surveillance and precedent practice. A different approach is proposed for concrete/masonry dam, which considers the prime purpose of drawdown being to lower the reservoir in a reasonable timeframe to permit repairs rather than rapid lowering to avert failure. The UK approach is compared with that used in Australia and suggestions made for where its use may be appropriate.
On 1 July 2017, the Water Supply (Safety and Reliability) Act 2008 (Qld) was amended to improve the way referable dam owners manage dam safety and integration of dam safety with disaster management. While each dam and emergency event differs, and each state has different dam safety and disaster management legislation, it is important that communication strategies are effectively delivered to empower dam owners and emergency practitioners to improve warning capability for affected communities. The paper provides an overview of the intent of the amended legislation, key concepts, what makes an effective emergency action plan and a performance analysis of the emergency action planning regulatory program. Lessons learnt from the analysis are provided.
Investigations into the core material of earth fill dams are undertaken reluctantly due to the potential to cause damage to the embankment. Where investigations are required, Cone Penetration Testing (CPT) is increasingly used to assist with the geotechnical assessment of dam embankments. The risk of hydraulic fracture within embankment core material is well known and procedures are typically adopted to minimise the risk of hydraulic fracture during remediation of the holes. Backfilling is typically done in stages allowing for an initial set of the cement/bentonite grout mixture prior to subsequent lifts.
While the risk of hydraulic fracture is well understood, the lesser known risk of pneumatic fracture is a possibility where certain conditions exist. This paper discusses CPT investigations at Fairbairn Dam, operated by Sunwater in Central Queensland, and the challenges faced in undertaking the remediation of the CPT holes. The potential for pneumatic fracture of the embankment core was highlighted during the investigations and details of alternative techniques adopted for reinstatement of the holes are presented. Recommendations are made to appropriately manage the risk of pneumatic fracture when undertaking CPT’s through embankment core.