The ANCOLD (2003) Guidelines on Risk Assessment contain criteria regarding the tolerable level of individual risk from dam failure. Maslin et al. (2012) describe an approach to estimating individual risk from dam failure, using exposure factors, warning and evacuation factors, and fatality factors. These factors vary according to the people at risk, the anticipated warning time, the flood severity and the shelter people are likely to be in. Maslin et al. (2012) provide step-by-step instructions, which means their approach can be applied in a consistent manner from dam to dam. However, the recommended fatality factors are based on Graham (1999) and DHS (2011) definitions of high, medium and low severity flooding which have been superseded by the Reclamation Consequence Estimating Methodology (RCEM). Therefore, in this paper modifications to the Maslin et al. (2012) approach are proposed, so that estimates of individual risk from dam failure are consistent with RCEM-based estimates of societal risk. The paper then concludes with two predictions about how the assessment and use of individual risk in Australian dam safety management may change in future.
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In recent times two dimensional (2D) hydraulic modelling has become the most common type of modelling for undertaking dambreak assessments. Direct map outputs such as depth and depth-velocity product are very useful in assessing risk across a floodplain. The temporal output from 2D models also enables the tracking of flow across a floodplain, helping practitioners and dam owners alike make informed decisions on warning time and evacuation routes. These outputs form essential input to packages such as HEC-LifeSim an agent-based simulation model for estimating life loss by simulating population redistribution during an evacuation.
A number of investigations have shown the hydraulic model, TUFLOW, is able to simulate the hydraulic conditions expected in a dambreak flood wave, giving confidence in the model’s ability to correctly capture the flood wave propagation. Notwithstanding this ability, there remains uncertainty over the best methodology to adopt when assigning a breach hydrograph to the model and in turn the impact this choice has on assessing downstream populations at risk.
A commonplace method of assigning dam breach hydrographs is to model the reservoir and dam structure with a 1D model or spreadsheet, where the storage is represented with a stage storage relationship and outflow through a time-varying breach is calculated using level-pool routing. The resulting hydrograph is then applied directly to a 2D model immediately downstream of the dam to model the propagation of flow downstream.
An alternative approach consists of representing the entire reservoir, dam and downstream floodplain in the 2D model. This allows for the dynamic effects of bathymetric constrictions in the reservoir to be accounted for which could greatly impact on the timing and shape of the dam breach hydrograph. However, this comes at a cost, as representing the reservoir in 2D requires bathymetry data which can be expensive to capture and also may require a major extension of the model domain.
In this paper the ‘Fully 2D’ and ‘Stage storage relationship 1D/Spreadsheet’ approaches are compared for a number of case studies.
Sedimentation of reservoirs is acknowledged as a global issue and likely impacts water storage capacity in Australia. This major challenge to our future water supply is a highly complex process with deposition leading to infilling of the reservoir of course sediments in headwaters following major inflows, progressively to finer fractions towards dam walls. Wave action and catchment inflows during drawdown conditions will further transport and redistribute sediments into the main body of the reservoir.
Managing reservoir sedimentation requires an understanding of the sediment types and deposition patterns across the reservoir. Once the location and type of sediment is known, strategies to mitigate the effects on the reservoir can be determined. Methods typically used for determining sedimentation of a reservoir are empirical or modeling techniques that rely on detailed data from inflow events, suspended solids loads and flow rates. In the absence of this data, more direct measurements to quantify the amount of sediment present can be used. Direct measurements are more robust than modelling approaches that utilise rating curves that can result in over estimations of the sediment present. This study combined several measurement techniques to produce high spatial coverage of the reservoir floor. Detailed validation of this approach was undertaken in one representative reservoir prior to adopting this approach across multiple reservoirs.
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) has a robust Dam Safety Program (DSP) that utilizes risk- informed decision-making to prioritize its portfolio of dams in need of further study and modifications. USACE also utilizes a two-tiered governance structure in which one body makes portfolio recommendations around risk management while the other body oversees the execution of the agency’s routine DSP and makes policy recommendations. The routine program consists of the activities required for interim risk reduction measures, inspections, instrumentation, monitoring, assessments, operations and maintenance, emergency action planning, training, and other dam safety activities. An internal program management tool exists to monitor and track all these activities and generate metrics around execution of the routine DSP, however, it does not include metrics around other aspects of the DSP like governance, asset management, public safety and security, flow controls, or audits/reviews. USACE hopes to identify gaps in its DSP that can be used to correct shortcomings, continuously improve, and to increase the resilience of its DSP, which will enable each project to deliver benefits to the Nation. The Centre for Energy Advancement through Technological Innovation (CEATI), through its Dam Safety Interest Group (DSIG), collaboratively developed a spreadsheet tool known as the Dam Safety Maturity Matrix (DSMM). The DSMM is a facilitated exercise used to help evaluate how well-developed a program is across 12 elements considered to be typical and important of most dam safety programs. Each of the elements is then deaggregated into sub-elements, each of which can be evaluated by the team. The maturity ranges across 5 levels from Needing Improvement to Leading Edge. After all sub-elements are evaluated, an aggregate maturity level is computed that gives an estimation of the overall maturity level of the program. USACE will present the results of its pilot project using the DSMM and share lessons learned regarding its implementation. The short-term goal is to identify program strengths and areas for improvement, while the long-term goal of USACE using the DSMM is to participate in bench- marking across multiple agencies and international dam owners regarding their dam safety programs, for which has never been done to the knowledge of this author.
The development of geological, engineering geological and geotechnical models is essential for all dams. These models provide the basis for understanding the engineering characteristics of foundation materials and geological structures that are critical to the safe design, construction and operation of the dam.
The use of digital three dimensional (3D) engineering geological modelling techniques is becoming more common for civil infrastructure projects. In addition to established design applications, 3D engineering geological models can be utilised by dam owners, operators and stakeholders for ongoing management of the dam.
The recent option studies at North Pine Dam in Brisbane, Australia, provides an example of collaboration between the owner (Seqwater) and the designer (GHD) to maximise the use of existing information and to enable future information to be efficiently integrated and utilised.
The initial North Pine Dam 3D engineering geological model was developed using historical records dating from the design and construction of the dam in the 1950’s and 1960’s. These records had been carefully stored, collated and digitised by the owner, so that they could be easily georeferenced and incorporated into the 3D engineering geological model.
The initial model was interrogated to identify data gaps and to plan targeted and cost-effective investigations that addressed critical geotechnical issues. The 3D engineering geological model was further refined using the newly acquired data, to develop a comprehensive “3D database” that can be used to visualise and interrogate all existing records as high- resolution georeferenced images and embedded data.
This provides an asset for the dam owner to maximise the use of existing information and reduce the cost of future safety reviews or design.
New Zealand’s economy is heavily dependent on export revenues generated by primary industries such as dairy, meat, agriculture, horticulture and viticulture. For these sectors, securing water for irrigation has been a key factor for growth. New Zealand has a temperate climate with generally wet winters and dry summers. The availability of water in the dry summer period is very important for these sectors to maximise production. A considerable amount of investment has already been made in the construction and operation of reservoirs for irrigation purposes. However, because climate change effects (more frequent occurrences of extreme events such as droughts and flash floods) have been observed around the world and the need for restrictions imposed on the use of water resources by regulators for environmental reasons, the need for developing water storage reservoirs has become more essential than ever. Climate change effects are already being factored into current practice. Drawing on the author’s experience, this paper discusses the potential impacts of climate change, with an emphasis on the effects of drought, on the design, construction and operation of water storage facilities with changes necessary to improve the resilience of new dams in
response to climate change. The paper also aims at raising awareness among the farming community so they can appreciate the associated risks and issues with climate change and be more cautious about planning and budgeting for their future investments in dam and irrigation projects.