Across Australia, recreation usage around dams is growing rapidly. There is also increasing public expectation around the facilities provided and the activities that can be undertaken.
While dams create many benefits, they also have inherent risks associated with them. The risks associated with public access include public and staff safety, water quality, pollution, environmental degradation, bushfires, water availability, dam & power generation operations, and financial.
In 2016 the Victorian government released “Water for Victoria”, a strategy for managing increasingly valued water resources and a growing population. This strategy recognises the importance of recreational enjoyment of waterways and commits water corporations to continuing to maintain infrastructure and facilities to support recreational objectives at their water storages. Water for Victoria also commits water corporations to consider recreational user objectives in the way water storage and supply is managed. However, this must be within legislative requirements to meet the needs of water entitlement holders and with awareness of the realities of dry conditions and climate change.
For the last 10 years, Goulburn Murray Water has been progressively rolling out Land & on Water Management Plans and setting up Land & on Water Implementation Committees. These committees provide a forum for liaison with local government, other statutory authorities, as well as interested environmental, heritage, indigenous, commercial and recreation groups. The groups aim to understand the concerns and requirements of all parties, take appropriate action, which may involve educating communities where some of their desired actions are not achievable.
While this approach has been successful, the growth in social media and the emergence of groups outside of the Land & on Water process has meant that consultation has had to be extended to include self-identifying, special interest groups. This has involved the development of separate groups at Dartmouth and Lake Eppalock to educate and work through the issue at hand, developing appropriate actions, which are accepted and implemented by all parties.
This paper will review the Goulburn Murray Water Land & on Water process, and consider two cases studies, namely the “Save Lake Eppalock” community driven campaign and the provision of fishing access on Dartmouth regulating pondage.
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On February 7, 2017, the gated service spillway (also known as the Flood
Control Outlet or FCO Spillway) at Oroville Dam was being used to release water
to control the Lake Oroville level according to the prescribed operations plan.
During this operation, the service spillway’s concrete chute slab failed, resulting
in the loss of spillway chute slab sections and deep erosion of underlying
foundation materials. Subsequently, as the damaged service spillway was
operated in an attempt to manage multiple risks, the project’s free overflow
emergency spillway was overtopped for the first time since the project was
completed in 1968. Significant erosion and headcutting occurred downstream of
the emergency spillway’s crest structure, leading authorities to evacuate about
188,000 people from downstream communities.
Deformation Survey is a simple and widely implemented technique to identify the early signs of dam failure and is regularly undertaken on many dams. Thanks to advances in equipment and more accurate survey records, there is now a better understanding of measurement and movement of embankments and previous records.
However, the “expected” range of transverse deformation and implications for failure modes of dams is not particularly well researched or understood.
This paper collates a case history of transverse deformation for a number of Tasmanian dams and examines the relative behaviour of the embankment dams. From this the “expected behaviour” of an embankment dam can be estimated and related to key influencing factors, such as observed settlements, height and age of the dams, and thereby providing guidance on when transverse deformation is considered unusual for similar dams.
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.
Many mapped faults in the south-eastern highlands of New South Wales and Victoria are associated with apparently youthful topography, suggesting that faulting may have played a role in shaping the modern landscape. This has been demonstrated to be the case for the Lake George Fault, and may reasonably be inferred for the poorly characterised Murrumbidgee, Khancoban, Tantangara, Berridale Wrench and Tawonga faults. More than a dozen nearby major faults with similarly youthful topography are uncharacterised. In general, fault locations and extents are inconsistent across different scales of geologic mapping, and rupture lengths, slip rates and other fault behaviours remain largely unquantified. A more comprehensive understanding of these faults is required to support safety assessments for communities and large infrastructure in the region.
The volume-of-fluid (VOF) technique was employed to develop a Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) model for comparison to physical measurements available from the Eildon Dam model in Australia for validations purposes. The water surface in the downstream chute of the spillway was observed to be mostly comprised of fully developed aerated flow. The free surface is physically measured as located between the mixing and upper zones, thus investigator judgement is critical to achieve reliable measurements. The mixing zone is also characterized by surface waves to complicate matters even further. A challenge arose to develop a post processing methodology that replicates as closely as possible the measuring technique used by the physical modeller for direct comparison of results, using a novel method which utilises Poisson probability of exceedance applied to the free surface.