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.
Now showing 1-12 of 53 3220:
If a risk-based approach is used to assess the spillway adequacy for large dams, then an estimate of the annual exceedance probability (AEP) of extreme rainfalls is required up to and beyond the Probable Maximum Precipitation (PMP). This paper describes how two site-specific approaches described by Nathan et al. (2015; 2016) were used to estimate the AEP of extreme rainfalls for seven catchments, ranging from 1300 km2 to 114,000 km2, in the northern-coastal region of Australia. The results are then compared with the regionally-based Laurenson and Kuczera (1999) relationship for estimating the AEP of the PMP, which is recommended by the Australian Rainfall and Runoff 2019 guide to flood estimation (Nathan and Weinmann, 2019). This shows that the site-specific assessments have produced a rarer estimate of the AEP of the PMP compared with Laurenson and Kuczera (1999), particularly for the catchments >10,000 km2. For some of these locations, this has allowed the dam owners to plan risk-based upgrades with more confidence.
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.
Estimating the likely extent, depth and velocity of flooding should a dam fail – and planning to both prevent and respond to such a failure – are important parts of managing risk from dams and ensuring community resilience. This paper compares and contrasts current standards and practices for dambreak analyses and flood routing in New Zealand, Australia, the US, and the UK. Comparisons highlight consistent and evolving practices and consider how dambreak modelling supports robust dam safety decision making. In addition, the paper offers opinions regarding selected areas for future research, and insights into the benefits and limitations of increasing complexity in breach modelling.
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.
The ANCOLD Guidelines (2019) require that active and neotectonic faults which could significantly
contribute to the ground-shaking or ground-displacement hazard for a dam should be accounted for in seismic hazard assessments. While geological and geomorphological field investigations along suspected active fault structures are undertaken as a matter of course in New Zealand, this practice is relatively uncommon in Australia. Granted, rates of tectonic processes are greater in New Zealand than in intraplate Australia. However, moderate to large and damaging earthquakes are not uncommon in the Australian record; there have been ~26 earthquakes of magnitude >M6 in the last 150 years (~1 event every ~6 years) and similar events might be expected in the future. We present examples of investigations undertaken to better understand earthquake hazard for two faults – previous studies on the Wellington Fault, New Zealand, and new data from recent investigations of the Avonmore Scarp, southeast Australia. We report the results from these studies and discuss how the collection of similar data on faults proximal to Australian dams would allow dam owners and operators to better quantify seismic hazard and, thereby, more meaningfully comply with the ANCOLD guidelines.