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.
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Recent advances in communication technologies have made available an array of new systems and functionalities that dam operators can use to improve automation and centralisation in the daily surveillance tasks of their portfolios. These functionalities include real-time monitoring, target-oriented video surveillance and the remote management of PLCs and data loggers.
The present paper aims to outline some integration possibilities using TCP/IP technologies for remote operations and video surveillance.
The case study features a comprehensive dam instrumentation upgrade, in which the acquisition systems were complemented with a series of IP cameras designed to be triggered by local and remote events.
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.
Earthquakes are a well-known threat to the safety of dams. While this threat is subdued for Australian Dams, the potential for earthquake induced failure of a dam requires risk minimisation in the downstream community through monitoring and emergency response procedures. This paper details WaterNSW’s approach to their development of a Seismic Monitoring Strategy which was to align the business and ensure an appropriate post-seismic response.
The strategy also identifies that a proactive approach to seismic instrumentation can be taken to reduce business risk by aiding decision making should a dam be in a damaged post-seismic state.
The interim outcome of implementing the Seismic Monitoring Strategy resulted in a fast emergency
response time and less overreaction/distraction of dam safety resources in insignificant seismic events. There is opportunity for other Australian dam owners to implement similar systems to = WaterNSW and achieve similar results.
The revised magnitudes of the Geoscience Australia’s NSHA18 earthquake catalogue approximately halve the rate of occurrence of earthquakes of a given Mw magnitude in Australia. This yields probabilistic ground motion levels that are significantly lower than the present design levels at dam sites in Australia that are not near faults, and is expected to result in a general reduction in ground motion levels at dams not near faults estimated for all Risk Assessments, and for Deterministic Assessments for all consequence levels except Extreme Consequence. For the latter, the ANCOLD (2018) guidelines will tend to increase existing SEE ground motion estimates for both of the methods used to estimate the safety evaluation earthquake (SEE). By requiring the use of the Deterministic SEE if it is larger than the probabilistic SEE, and by requiring use of the 85th fractile of the Probabilistic SEE if it is larger than the Deterministic SEE, the ANCOLD (2018) guidelines for Deterministic Assessments are much more conservative than the ICOLD and NZSOLD guidelines for Extreme Consequence dams, especially at those located near faults.
This paper will explore the differences in pore pressures resulting from saturated and unsaturated seepage (pore pressure) analysis. It will also evaluate some conventional recommendations, such as the inclusion of essential components of the embankment dam and omission of inessential components. In addition, the identification of inessential components will be discussed.
Finally, pore pressures obtained from these analyses will be compared to monitoring data in order to identify the most appropriate seepage (pore pressure) model.
In conclusion, advantages and disadvantages of each method will be discussed and recommendations will be provided in order to gain the most appropriate results.
The results of this paper can be used for designing new embankment dams or safety reviews of existing dams, particularly when there is lack of reliable monitoring data.