As part of the development of some dams and hydroelectric power schemes, deep infrastructure is often required which requires and understanding of the in situ stresses of the rock mass. Recent works completed in southern Australia and Europe have led to improved methodologies for conducting effective, reliable, and repeatable measurements of in situ strain and/or deformation, as well as the subsequent estimation of in situ stress.
In situ stress testing is generally an item that is specified as part of a geotechnical investigation, however it is not commonly well understood in terms of reliability, repeatability, or, in fact, what the result actually means and its implications to project design. Commonly, a handful of tests are completed, with variable results, which often generates more confusion than answers.
This paper provides a discussion of recent in situ stress testing completed for two deep Australian projects. It summarises the aim of the investigations, test selection process, laboratory testing, data review and model development. This is to illustrate how complex the estimation of in situ stress can be and some of the pitfalls that may be avoided whilst acquiring and assessing the data. It also examines several different testing methods available in the Australian and International industry and some of the analysis techniques available to dam and tunnel projects. Finally, the paper provides an update on topical developments provided at recent workshops in Europe.
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Many quantified risk assessments finish the failure mode event tree at the estimated occurrence of an embankment breach leading to dam failure outflows and downstream consequences. In some situations, for dams with multiple embankments with potentially different consequences downstream of each embankment, the possibility for further breaches may be pertinent if there may potentially be higher consequences for a multiple breach scenario. The location of an initial breach and sequence of subsequent breaches could also result in different contributions to total risk.
This paper discusses a method applied to investigate the conditional probability of flood overtopping breaches for multiple earth-fill embankments with grass covered downstream slopes.
For the subject dam, preliminary modelling identified that for a flood overtopping breach of an embankment the breach’s development may not be sufficient to reduce the lake level and sustained overtopping flow over the remaining embankment crests could lead to further embankment breaches.
A Monte Carlo dam breach simulation modelling approach was used with a large number of flood events. The simulation modelling considered erosion initiation for a grass slope due to the combination of velocity and duration of flow, and erosion continuing to breach based on duration of flow after erosion initiation. Potential uncertainty of erosion initiation and erosion continuing to breach were represented with probability distributions in the Monte Carlo modelling.
The results from the large number of dam breach simulations were then analysed with post processing to derive conditional probabilities for single or multiple breaches and breach sequence.
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.
Estimation of the potential economic consequences of dam failure is becoming an issue of increasing importance in the Australian dams industry. As a result of the ongoing investment in dam safety upgrades, societal risk profiles for many dams are generally reducing. Additionally, there is evidence of the potential magnitude of economic and financial costs from recent overseas dam incidents. Whilst there is a well established framework for estimation of economic consequences, based on concepts of direct/indirect and tangible/intangible damages, there is a dearth of recent literature on the application of modern unit cost rates for various asset classes. This is particularly important in cases where direct, tangible damages are an important component of economic consequences.
Currently, unit cost rates used to estimate direct tangible economic consequences in Australia are typically taken from older sources such as the floodplain Rapid Assessment Method (RAM). The appropriate cost rates are then factored by CPI to represent ‘current day’ estimates of these costs. However, since the time when the RAM was first developed, there have been changes to the categorisations used to identify economic assets such as businesses in common databases such as the census. Additionally, there have been a number of large, recent flood events in Australia which provide very useful data to assist in deriving updated unit cost estimates.
This paper presents proposed unit rates for damaged and destroyed residential and commercial structures (including stage-damage curves) consistent with the Australian Bureau of Statistics categorisations used in the census data, agricultural land and assets such as roads. These rates have been derived based on a range of sources. The purpose of producing these unit rates is to promote ease-of-use and consistency, especially for large consequence assessment studies where numerous assets are impacted. A case study is presented showing the application of these unit cost rates and highlighting the variability in direct, tangible damages in different circumstances
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.
Many numerical simulations have tried to model the failure-induced displacements of earth structures due to liquefaction. In this paper, the challenges in modelling such as the large displacement and non-immediate failure of earth structures due to liquefaction are discussed. An advanced bounding surface plasticity model is used to simulate the dynamic behaviour of saturated porous media. A series of benchmark welldocumented seismic events are analysed, and the results are compared to the reported laboratory and field observations. These analyses consist of one centrifuge test on liquefiable sand (Model #12 of the VELACS project) and one earthfill dam (Lower San Fernando Dam in California) subjected to seismic loading that leads to liquefaction. The capability of the model to capture the flow failure due to liquefaction is demonstrated and results are compared with other attempts in the literature to capture similar responses.