Richard M Robinson, Siraj Perera, Gaye Francis
Due diligence has become endemic in Australian legislation and in case law, to the point that it has become, in the philosopher Immanuel Kant’s terms, a categorical imperative. That is, our lawmakers seem to have decided that due diligence is universal in its application and creates a moral justification for action. This also means the converse, that failure to act demands sanction against the failed decision maker.
This applies to dam safety management which represents the archetypical high consequence – low likelihood event. It is now essential to have positively demonstrated safety due diligence in a way that can withstand post-event judicial scrutiny. Presently the only way this can be done is by using the notion of criticality and precaution, not hazard and risk. The test is not that of risk acceptability (as low as reasonably practicable or ALARP), rather it is that no further reasonably practicable precautions (so far as is reasonably practicable or SFAIRP) are available, and that what results is not prohibitively dangerous.
This paper will document the difference between the two approaches and how to positively demonstrate safety due diligence. It also discusses the definition of ALARP as stated in ANCOLD’s Guidelines on Risk Assessment 2003 and the relevance of the safety case principle for dam safety management.
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Qian Gu, Joshua Chan
Tailings Storage Facilities (TSF) constructed using upstream methods may have static liquefaction risks due to the strain softening behaviour of contractive tailings. Conventional Limit Equilibrium Analyses (LEA) using either peak strength or residual strength fail to address the stress-strain compatibilities between materials at different stages of softening or hardening, resulting in over or underestimating embankment stabilities. Static numerical analyses (Finite Element or Difference) are unable to identify the threshold stability due to their inability to converge close to or beyond equilibrium conditions.
In this study the failure triggering process is modelled with dynamic Finite Element Analyses (FEA) with the stress-softening behaviour of contractive tailings simulated by Norsand Model. The embankment failures are identified by either non-zero residual velocities along downstream face, or a drop in average shear stress along potential failure surfaces under increasing disturbing surface pressure. Threshold disturbing surface pressure estimated using these two methods are in close agreements. Factor of Safety (FoS) values estimated from peak mobilised shear strength are found to be between those estimated using the peak and residual shear strength in LEA. q-p’ stress paths in tailings clearly show the stress ratio increasing towards and beyond instability ratio during undrained triggering process. The developments of zones of shear softening and p’ reduction with increasing undrained disturbances help visualise the failure triggering process.
Hench Wang, Peter Hill, Sam Banzi, Muhammad Hameed
Dam owners can often struggle to demonstrate the dam safety risk benefits that can be achieved through non-structural risk reduction measures, such as adoption of smart technological solutions that improve the timeliness and quality of decision making. WaterNSW collaborated with HARC to develop a novel way of demonstrating benefits from improved data management. This paper discusses the use of HEC-LifeSim to demonstrate the reduction in life safety risk from improved monitoring through DamGuard for a case study dam in Sydney. DamGuard is a real-time dam safety monitoring system implemented by WaterNSW. This case study was the first time in Australia where a simulation model such as HEC-LifeSim was applied to quantify the life safety risk benefits pre and post the implementation of DamGuard. The implementation of DamGuard to the sample dam was estimated to reduce the life safety risk by 15%.
Neeta Arora, Prashant Agrawal, Yogendra Deva, Ravi Kumar
The tectono-lithologic complexities and the accompanying extreme mass wasting processes make the Himalaya a difficult terrain for river valley development projects envisaging dams and other diversion structures. Besides exceptionally thick riverbed deposits leading to management of deep foundations, abutting the dams often poses challenges in view of difficult ground conditions. The paper looks at three scenarios where the presence of highly decomposed strata, slumped mass and unconsolidated riverbed material led to serious problems in abutting the dams and invariably delayed the project completion. The design approach to special abutment issues is discussed in the light of investigations, explorations, laboratory and field tests, etc. In conclusion, while dependable engineering geological mapping and assessment is considered the backbone, innovative investigations and engineering play crucial role in successful implementation of projects.
Paul Somerville, Andreas Skarlatoudis, Jeff Bayless, Polly Guan
The 2019 ANCOLD seismic guidelines state that “A hazard assessment should be conducted for earthquake magnitudes Mw 5 and above. However, under certain circumstances, smaller magnitude earthquakes may form the lower limit. With masonry dams, slab and buttress dams, older concrete dams, and structural concrete components of dams, Mw 4 earthquake magnitudes should form the lower limit.” However, when using probabilistic Uniform Hazard Spectra (UHS) with Mmin less than 5.0 per the 2019 ANCOLD Guidelines, the hazard will be overestimated unless Conditional Mean Spectra (CMS) are used to represent the ground motions. As described by Somerville et al. (2015), use of the UHS can significantly overestimate the seismic hazard levels presented by individual earthquake scenarios because the UHS envelopes the ground motions from multiple earthquake scenarios in one spectrum. This overestimation is especially true of the ground motions from small magnitude earthquake scenarios. The probabilistic UHS may have large short period ground motions with contributions from a range of scenario earthquakes, but if the UHS is used as the design spectrum, these ground motions will often be represented by earthquake scenarios having inappropriately large magnitudes, long durations, and high long period ground motion levels. As a result, these design ground motions have the potential to overestimate the response of the structure under consideration. By using CMS spectra and time histories, the large probabilistic peak accelerations, predominantly from small earthquakes, are better represented by earthquakes having appropriately small magnitudes, short durations, and lower long period ground motion levels, yielding more realistic estimates of the response of the structure.
Shane McGrath, Mark Arnold, Josh Rankin, Gavan Hunter
Greenvale Dam is a critical storage for the supply of potable water to Melbourne. The dam had been upgraded through current risk management techniques, and an ALARP assessment completed at that time. However, it was decided that a more comprehensive demonstration of ALARP was warranted to satisfy the dam owner’s duty of care. Since there is no comprehensive guidance in the dams industry for owners and their advisors to reference, the safety case approach used extensively in other hazardous industries was adopted. Considering the approaches used by Victoria’s Worksafe, the Institution of Engineers Australia and the National Offshore Petroleum Safety and Environmental Management Authority (NOPSEMA), the key components of the safety case for Greenvale dam were identified then developed to provide a logical, structured and comprehensive argument for the safety of Greenvale Dam. This paper provides an overview of components of the safety case developed for Greenvale Dam, the use of safety cases for dams and where process improvements could be made.