There are currently around four new flood detention reservoirs (retarding basins) built each year in UK, which although only being modest structures with median height of 4m and reservoir capacity of 300,000m3 pose a significant risk to the community as they are located immediately upstream of the community they are protecting. These communities range from around five to several thousand households.
The cost and therefore viability of these structures can vary depending on the number of defensive features built into the design, which raises interesting conflicting issues of public safety contrasted to vulnerability to property inundation in operational (say, 1 in 100 chance) floods.
The authors have designed and supervised over 30 flood detention reservoirs in the UK in the last 20 years. This paper describes the engineering decisions which need to be made regarding defensive measures and the resilience of these structures to withstand flood loading on demand. Examples of measures to include resilience are described, with discussion of when selection of the options to increase resilience against a particular failure mode should be mandatory, and when it may be more appropriate to consider it on a case by case risk-based approach. The paper will also discuss more strategic issues of how to balance making flood detention reservoirs affordable, while at the same time maintaining high standards of public safety and compares Australian and UK approaches.
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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.
Satellite remote sensing data can be used to monitor environmental processes and inform disaster risk reduction and hazard early warning. This paper describes the analysis of satellite remote sensing images to investigate the partial wall collapse of a tailings dam at the Cadia gold-copper mine in Australia that occurred on 9th March 2018. Our case study uses freely available remote sensing imagery acquired by the Copernicus Sentinel-1 (radar) and Sentinel-2 (multispectral) satellite constellations to monitor land surface changes in the Cadia mine area before and after the collapse. In this paper we discuss the benefits of utilising both radar and multispectral remote sensing imagery in a holistic approach to remote sensing, which could be used for continuous, near-real time monitoring of risk-related infrastructure such as dams without the need for in-situ measurement equipment.
We applied the Interferometric Synthetic Aperture Radar (InSAR) technique to measure surface displacements and interferometric coherence maps from a stack of Sentinel-1 radar images acquired between 2nd December 2015 and 25th June 2018 at regular 12 day intervals. The time series of surface displacements show a significant increase in the rate of movement of the dam wall in the area that eventually breached in the two months prior to the collapse. This change in movement behaviour was not observed at parts of the dam wall that remained intact. This analysis demonstrates the potential for InSAR monitoring to identify issues in advance of infrastructure failure, which could allow risk mitigation strategies to be implemented by the mine operator. We used interferometric coherence data to observe changes in the dam wall and surrounding areas before and after the collapse. A drop in coherence occurred in the breached section of dam wall, indicating the surface change caused by the collapse. Coherence for unaffected parts of the dam wall remained stable. Sentinel-2 multispectral imagery acquired between 2nd July 2017 and 24th June 2018 show the timing, extent and effects of the collapse as well as the rate of tailings movement.
Vertical gates and their operating plant are an essential part of dam safety at many dam sites. Apportioning appropriate levels of resilience during the design phase requires a thorough understanding of a gate system as a whole, not only of a single component in isolation.
This paper offers a designer’s perspective on modern engineering design features, materials and practices which can improve gate resilience during onerous operating conditions. This is of particular relevance to gates that are seldom used. Design aspects relating to the capability and limitations of the gate, hoist type, power supply arrangement and control system equipment to work together as a complete system are paramount design considerations in ensuring overall system resilience.
A discussion of the role and duty a hydraulic gate has in a dam safety context is presented. Supporting commentary is offered on appropriate levels of reliability, redundancy and diversity, including a comparison of different gate, bearing and hoist types. The authors draw on their own experience regarding gate design, fabrication and operation from completed and ongoing projects both locally and internationally.
Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) is the science of predicting momentum, mass and heat transport, and can aid in design and safety issues for dam resilience in modern settings. Applications of CFD have historically been in the aerospace, automotive and chemical process industries with limited application in the hydraulic engineering field; possibly due to the associated computational intensity that is typically required. However, over the past two decades the cost of computing power has decreased substantially while the processing speed has increased exponentially. These developments have now made the application of CFD in the commercial environment feasible. CFD is particularly valuable in complex flow situations where the outputs required cannot be provided by a traditional hydraulic assessment approach and where there are stakeholder drivers such as service life, insurance cover and safety implications of infrastructure. The need for CFD when these drivers and complex flow situations arise, are demonstrated by means of a case study.
In the case study, CFD was used to investigate the flow patterns and the predicted performance of the outlet pipework from Massingir Dam in Mozambique. Three flow scenarios with appropriate pressure and flow boundary conditions were analysed for the outlet pipework, which included bifurcations for power generation from the main discharge conduits. Specific concerns addressed were, firstly, the possible excessive negative pressure in the region of the offtake for power generation and the potential for cavitation effects and, secondly, unacceptable velocity gradients in the power offtake pipework. Results showed that although some negative pressures were possible in one flow scenario, mitigation measures based on the CFD outputs could be considered and designed before construction.
The implementation of CFD in the above case study displays how risk in design can be reduced to ensure safety issues are addressed effectively.
K.A. Crawford-Flett, J.J.Eldridge, E.T. Bowman, C. Gordon
This paper provides an interpretation of factors governing the manifestation of internal erosion in a New Zealand canal that was constructed during the 1970s. Liner and subgrade soils were sampled during de- watering of Tekapo Canal in 2013, following the surveillance of erosion events over the preceding decades. This paper focuses on the interpretation of erosion susceptibility of liner and subgrade soil gradations sampled at four locations. Of the four locations, Sites 2, 3, and 4 were associated with internal erosion defects. A single location (Site 1) was selected to provide benchmark “intact” (un-eroded) samples.
Interpretation of susceptibility of the widely-graded soils to internal erosion mechanisms was achieved through the application of established empirical techniques for internal stability, filter compatibility, and segregation. Analysis of gradations, which are believed representative of some – but likely not all – canal soils, showed that Sites associated with erosion defects had liner-subgrade interfaces that permitted “some erosion” (NE < D15F < EE), while the Site showing no sign of erosion possessed an interface that met modern filter retention criteria for No Erosion. Based on gradation analysis, internal instability is considered a possibility for subgrade materials in particular. It is possible that subgrade materials that fail No Erosion criteria for liner retention may not represent as-built material and may instead have lost finer fractions in situ due to seepage-induced instability, leaving a coarser-than-placed and filter-incompatible subgrade.
This case study demonstrates the use of gradation-based empirical methods as initial screening tools to assess the susceptibility of soils to internal instability, filter compatibility, and segregation. The relationship between the internal stability of a filter and the filter’s particle retention performance (compatibility) is emphasised. As well as gradation susceptibility, the assessment of other factors such as segregation and hydraulic loads must be considered in order to better-understand susceptibility to erosion mechanisms.