Dams and levees within the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) inventory were constructed for a variety of purposes including flood control, navigation, hydropower, recreation, and fish and wildlife conservation. USACE transitioned to using life safety risk as a key input to all dam and levee safety decisions in 2006. This was implemented for many reasons, paramount among them is forming a consistent basis to evaluate the safety of dams and levees and prioritize the implementation of risk reduction measures in a consistent manner across the agency to best utilize available resources. This requires knowledge of what constitutes unacceptable risks that would require risk reduction actions. The Tolerable Risk Guidelines (TRG) were developed for this purpose, and to form a common basis for dam and levee safety evaluations and decisions. Protection of life is paramount, and there are four TRG related to (1) understanding the risks surrounding dams and levees, (2) building risk awareness, (3) fulfilling daily responsibilities, and (4) continually considering actions to reduce risks. The USACE policies have evolved over time, but the fundamental principles that underpin the TRG have been fairly consistent for the past 10 years. The evolution of the TRG have come as a result of the experiences using these principles to support more than 2,500 safety decisions. This paper describes the rationale behind the selection of the TRG.
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The waters that feed the Nyamwamba River in western Uganda start as meltwater from the glaciers high up in the Rwenzori Mountains. A small scale run-of-river hydropower plant, equipped with a low height tyrolean type intake weir, is now operating just upstream of the town of Kilembe, the first large community along this river. History has seen floods cause realignments of the river through the town and major damage to property and loss of life.
A devastating flood occurred during the design phase for the scheme prior to any construction commencing, which caused loss of life and significant damage to roads, bridges and buildings within the town, including the hospital. Design changes to improve resilience of all riverine connections were made, including relocation of the diversion weir to a stronghold point within the basic protection zone of a natural island. A flood diversion dyke was constructed across one of the river branches that flows around the island, with its alignment, type and height optimised to capture low flows for energy generation while deflecting large flows away from the weir to mitigate flood damage.
Another major flood arrived three months after completion. No damage was sustained which provided confidence in the resilience of the headworks. A major river dredging program contributed to the overall resilience of this reach of river through the town.
This paper describes the challenges for the development of the project site in terms of physical considerations to work with the river, adopting some lessons learned from the pre-construction floods.
Leslie Harrison Dam is located on Tingalpa Creek in the Redlands region, approximately 18 km southeast of Brisbane. It is classified as an extreme hazard category dam with a large population at risk only a short distance downstream.
The dam comprises a 25 m high zoned earthfill embankment, with a dry well concrete intake tower and an outlet conduit located at the base of the dam near the old river channel. The spillway has a 43 m wide concrete gravity ogee crest, with a concrete lined chute terminating in an energy dissipator structure.
Seqwater is undertaking a staged upgrade of Leslie Harrison Dam to address deficiencies identified during the Portfolio Risk Assessment (URS 2013) and Geotechnical Investigations (GHD 2016).
While the dam has met the water supply needs of the community for the past 50 years, the upgrade ensures local residents will be well served into the future. Additionally, the structure will meet the most up to date requirements of dam safety management and national industry standards.
Construction of the Stage 1 upgrade commenced in June 2018 and involved the removal and replacement of liquefiable material in the foundation, modernisation and extension of the outlet works, addition of a new downstream filter buttress to the embankment, and lastly, the installation of both active and passive anchors within the spillway ogee and lower chute floor.
As with any major project, the works involved a number of challenges that had to be addressed. This paper provides an insight into the key challenges encountered and how these were overcome by the design and construction teams using practical engineered solutions. The intent is to provide the reader with an account of the “lessons learned” during the construction phase, along with recommendations for future dam upgrades.
Trustpower’s Mahinerangi Dam in New Zealand’s South Island is a concrete arch and gravity abutment dam built in 1931, subsequently raised in 1946 and strengthened with tie-down anchors in 1961.
This paper discusses a 3D finite element analysis of the dam and the predicted performance of the arch section under Safety Evaluation Earthquake (SEE) loading against identified potential failure modes.
Current guidelines and recent seismic hazard assessments recommend earthquake loadings higher than what was originally accounted for in previous decades. A Comprehensive Safety Review identified stability under SEE loading as a potential deficiency, so a programme of works was commenced to evaluate and better understand the seismic risk by using modern day tools and technology to evaluate the dam against current performance standards.
The final model incorporated the results of extensive laboratory testing, high-resolution LiDAR survey data and dynamic calibration using ambient-vibration monitoring. Motion recordings across the face of the dam during the 2016 Kaikōura earthquake were also used to validate the model. The reservoir has been explicitly modelled together with the opening, closing and sliding of contraction joints and the foundation interface. This allowed the modelling of permanent displacements and the redistribution of loads within the dam under SEE loading, which had been shown to be an important behaviour from the previous stages of analysis.
Flood inundation consequence and emergency evacuation assessment using advanced numerical modelling tools such as HEC-LifeSim is progressively emerging as accepted best practice, due in part to the growing ease in obtaining the necessary datasets and hydraulic numerical modelling results and the increasing computational power readily available to perform analyses. In turn, these tools are being applied to assess dam failure consequence and the effectiveness of emergency response procedures.
An essential resource is an approved Emergency Action Plan (EAP, also known as a Dam Safety Emergency Plan), which describes how dam owners and disaster management groups notify and warn persons at risk of harm during an emergency event. There have been progressive improvements in the effectiveness of EAPs through a series of reviews and lessons learnt from emergency events, legislative and regulatory amendments and general improvements in communications, monitoring, alerts and public awareness. Effectiveness is measured through feedback from training exercises and expert reviews, however a more quantitative measure is not presently available. This limitation can challenge decision makers who need to balance costs associated with emergency preparedness with anticipated reductions in life safety risks.
The paper explores the feasibility of providing a quantitative assessment of the effectiveness of an EAP using advanced consequence modelling (HEC-LifeSim). Using consequence models for two dams in Queensland, EAP effectiveness is assessed for a range of emergency response measures. The accuracy and reliability of the model parameters applied to each simulation and their impact upon the reliability of predictions of potential loss of life (PLL) are analysed and discussed. The feasibility of the approach is discussed and recommendations to be considered for future applications made.
Dam owners manage many complex activities to maintain and operate their dams safely and resiliently. Identifying, and continually improving, the key elements of an effective dam safety program and associated practices can be challenging but are essential to support resilient dams and resilient communities; using the Dam Safety Maturity Matrices (DSMM) is an efficient and thorough way to do this. A maturity matrix is a tool to evaluate how well-developed and effective a process or program is. The matrices were developed within CEATI’s Dam Safety Interest Group (DSIG) for owners to assess the effectiveness of their dam safety program against industry practice, and to assist with identifying improvement initiatives.
This paper will present the matrices and demonstrate how they are used to evaluate the effectiveness (or maturity) of a dam safety program. It will also highlight the benefits associated with using the matrices as an assessment tool, including the identification of improvements that can be made to a dam safety program, and the prioritization of efforts across multiple facets of a dam safety program.
User case studies from dam owners in both New Zealand and overseas will be presented to elaborate on the tool and the process.