The use of simulation models to assess dam failure consequences has progressively advanced in Australia over the past few years. For example, it is now common for HEC-LifeSim to be used to estimate potential loss of life from the failure of large dams with large populations at risk downstream. Since its introduction to Australia, numerous presentations and papers have been provided by USACE and industry professionals that highlight the benefits of using HEC-LifeSim for a range of different case studies.
Whilst the majority of the literature published to date have focused on the benefits of simulation modelling, this paper identifies some of the technical challenges that can arise, particularly in the evacuation modelling component of HEC-LifeSim. The techniques that have been used to overcome these challenges are also discussed using three case studies.
The first case study demonstrates the sensitivity of the life loss to changes in cell size and the output interval of the gridded hydraulic data. This is done by comparing the differences in life loss between high-resolution and low-resolution models for three dambreak models. The second case study illustrates the importance of the road network representation in HEC-LifeSim because the resolution of the road network is important to achieve plausible estimates of the fatalities along roads, and logical animations of the mobilisation. The final case study demonstrates the implications of coincident flow modelling on the life loss, and therefore the importance of understanding the hydrology of the target and neighbouring catchments.
This paper provides a checklist that prompts practitioners to consider some of the lessons learnt over the last few years and is envisaged to be a working document that improves the defensibility and robustness of HEC-LifeSim estimates throughout the industry.
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.
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.
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 geographical location of New Zealand to the south west of the ‘Pacific Ring of Fire’ and in the ‘Roaring Forties’ of the Pacific Ocean exposes national infrastructure networks across the country to a range of natural hazards. Despite this, studies of built environment resilience to natural hazards in New Zealand, have historically focused on the robustness of individual physical assets, with less emphasis on the performance of infrastructure networks at a national level. This is particularly true for the stopbank (levee) network. Until recently, stopbanks have often been considered at regional scales and to varying degrees depending on what information has been catalogued, and the level of interest / requirements and local expertise available at the time.
We present the findings of a preliminary national level natural hazard exposure assessment of New Zealand’s stopbank network by adopting the newly developed New Zealand Inventory of Stopbanks (NZIS). Geospatial seismic hazard data from recent modelling is used as a case study to demonstrate how understanding the exposure of stopbanks in NZIS can inform multi-hazard risk and resilience assessments. Four seismic and co- seismic hazard metrics are considered in our stopbank network exposure assessment: surface rupture (through proximity to known active faults), the strength of ground shaking (i.e. probabilistic estimates of peak ground accelerations and velocities), and liquefaction and landslide susceptibility.
With over 20% of current catalogued NZIS stopbank length and a relatively high seismic hazard exposure (active fault proximity and liquefaction susceptibility) in Southland, the likelihood of stopbank failure or breaching due to seismic activity appears to be relatively high in this region of New Zealand. Large sections of the stopbank network in other regions including Manawatu-Wanganui, Wellington and Hawkes Bay are also particularly exposed to large seismic hazards in our preliminary assessment. However, further work is required to more appropriately understand stopbank attributes including design and safety considerations.
Auckland Council (Council) is developing a dam safety management system with an overall objective to protect people, property, infrastructure, and the environment, from the harmful effects of a dam failure.
Council has responsibilities as an owner and operator of approximately 600 stormwater ponds and wetlands, many associated with dams. Council also has wider responsibilities for safety in the Auckland region, which may be affected by dams owned by others and even by inadvertent dams, such as road or rail embankments across streams that have the unintended but potential function of diverting, storing or holding back water. Three categories of dams have been distinguished, associated with Council’s different types of responsibility. Each category of dam is managed differently in the dam safety management system.
Given the large number of structures, which are not always obviously dams, a key activity has been the initial identification of dams across the Auckland region. Prioritisation has also been a necessary tool to direct resources and programme. Once dams have been identified, the consequences and risk of dam failure have been assessed, and commensurate measures have been established to manage those risks. There is limited guidance for some of these activities, and new procedures and tools have been developed.
This paper describes the process and the challenges encountered, for consideration by other councils when developing their own systems, and for consideration by the wider dams’ community.