Lindsay Millard, David T Roberts, Steven Cox, Andrew Berghuis, Anna Hams
Addressing historical impacts of waterway barriers on regional fisheries values is a major focus for fisheries regulators when assessing proposed water infrastructure projects such as dam safety improvements. To inform prudent investment decisions, it is essential to quantitatively determine the feasibility and benefits of various fish passage options to mitigate barrier effects. In Queensland, the regulatory frameworks require consideration of multiple options to achieve mitigation with the overarching goal to support and restore regional fish productivity. Addressing multiple objectives on large water infrastructure projects can be challenging, particularly for existing assets requiring retrofit solutions. There is a need to balance the requirements for dam safety, water supply reliability, while also mitigating the loss of fish habitat access upstream of barriers. Finding optimal fish passage solutions requires consideration of multiple options and using objective approaches that can weigh up the many aspects. The best solution may not always be the most obvious. Here we describe an approach that addresses multiple objectives through a novel off-site solution that provides increased benefit to the impacted fish community. Seqwater, Queensland,
The approach involved weighing up various fish passage options, informed by stochastic hydrologic
modelling to produce a range of probabilistic scenarios. 120 years of modelled water levels and discharges from the study site and the broader catchment, enabled an evaluation of the benefits and dis-benefits of different options in relation to dam safety, water supply reliability and fish migration opportunities. Inputs to the assessment process included fish habitat availability and migratory needs, capital and operational feasibility considerations. Numerous modelling scenarios were produced to assess a range of possible solutions, both on and off-site, to provide an objective weighting of the relative strengths of each scenario.
In this instance, while an onsite option could be feasibly engineered, it would be costly and given the
hydrology of the system, would operate so infrequently as to provide limited opportunities for fish passage and minimal regional fisheries productivity benefits. The optimal solution found was to provide fish passage on a higher order stream within the same catchment area that has impacted fish migration and access to upstream habitats for the same fish community. This option improves fish habitat access to a larger proportion of the catchment and over a wide range of flow conditions, thus providing greater regional fisheries productivity outcomes.
Our method demonstrated an objective approach to balancing multiple project objectives for dam
improvements. The use of hydrologic modelling combined with fish migration and habitat information, found an optimal solution for regional fisheries productivity goals, while also balancing the dam safety and water supply reliability goals.
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Richard Mannix, Michael Cawood, Joseph Matthews, Siraj Perera
Guidance material available to dam owners both domestically and internationally on testing dam safety emergency plans (DSEP) and running exercises is relatively general in nature. Guidance specific to dams that assists owners to design risk informed exercise scenarios tailored to their dam(s) total risk profile and the broader context in which the consequences of dam and operational safety failures would materialise, is limited.
This paper presents a framework that guides dam owners through a progressive scenario development process that enables the systematic identification of both dam and operational safety matters that require exploration as part of DSEP exercising. This level of rigour in guidance material has, until now, been missing and is particularly relevant in the context of dam owners demonstrating due diligence and SFAIRP imperatives while also bringing dam safety management closer to achieving the safety case.
Regulatory risk for large civil engineering projects such as dams and hydropower schemes can be larger than the engineering risks. The seriousness of project regulatory risks is rarely acknowledged publicly and almost never dealt with contractually. The recent adoption by the World Bank of the FIDIC/ITA Emerald Book contractual framework introduces geotechnical baseline reports as a contractual mechanism for managing ground risk in World Bank hydro projects. Regulatory risks created by government agencies and utilities due to changing project requirements can likewise be managed by adopting the concept of geotechnical baselines to regulatory impositions as a baseline report.
Government agencies changing regulatory burdens mid project can fairly be held accountable for the
burdens of those changes by establishing regulatory baselines at the earliest stages of a project. By
contractually embedding regulatory risk baselines, governments and their agencies can adjust their
payments to reflect the changed cost in delivering an agreed project caused by regulatory changes. In this way the compensation for delivering a project more closely aligns with its value and cost. A regulatory baseline report in reducing project exposure due to regulatory change driven costs is a new tool in more efficient and competitive project delivery.
A transparent mechanism for costing regulatory change risk and apportioning it in accordance with pre agreed mechanisms, is an innovation of great use to the dam and hydropower sector.
Claudia Smith, Shannon Dooland, Adam Broit, Rachel Jensen, Samantha Watt
The estimation of real consequences from dam failure that directly link to the overall likelihood of the failure is a challenging task, particularly in data sparse locations. Previous regional methods have often relied on simplistic assumptions without consideration of the true joint probability of the volume of flow in the downstream tributaries of concurrent catchments. As a result, concurrent downstream flooding directly impacting the consequence in dam break assessment scenarios may be misrepresented. More recently, the adoption of streamflow-based joint probability has become the standard, particularly where consequence estimation is used within the context of risk assessment. This paper progresses the work completed by others to establish a practical treatment method based on rainfall analysis where suitable streamflow information is unavailable. A case study is also presented where this method has improved the understanding of the risk profile associated with a coastal storage based on a better estimate of the likely flood concurrence within the storage and downstream catchments.
Ryan Cantrill, Petros Armenis & Angus Cannon
Large Australian dams span a range of ages and were designed and constructed to the prevailing
standards and practices of the day. Since that time, there has been a veritable explosion in monitoring and surveillance technologies available to dam owners to assist with risk management of their portfolio. Coupled with this has been the formalization and ongoing development of regulatory frameworks across the industry.
This paper endeavours to share Sunwater’s recent experience on this topic. Specifically, the following question is considered – how best to apply modern monitoring and surveillance technologies to manage dam safety risks associated with decades old structures, all while still meeting regulatory requirements? In answering this question, the authors necessarily had to consider several inputs including – physical condition of the existing assets; analysis of existing controls and mitigation measures; risk assessment and risk profile of the assets; and operational constraints. As always, outputs invariably required the prioritization of recommendations.
While dam owners must strive to comply with a standard and accepted way of managing their portfolio, it is vital they recognize and address the unique risks that each structure presents. It therefore follows that owners must be prepared to allow the time and provide the necessary resources when formulating a monitoring and surveillance program commensurate with the dam safety risk that their respective portfolio presents
Thomas Ridgway, Nic Polmear, Hugh Tassell
All industries, inclusive of the dams and tailings industry use some form of monitoring and reporting to confirm items or services are functioning properly or correct. In engineering, we seek to use both manual and automated systems to both qualifiably and quantifiably define the suitability of a process or structure/item. As the dams industry continues to evolve with technology and with ongoing developments in stewardship expectations for both water dams and tailings dams the industry is beginning to move into automation of their instrumentation systems. This process has recently been undertaken at a mine in NSW with the development of both a near real-time survey monitoring and visualisation system as well as a monthly photographic assessment system. This paper will set out the process undertaken to assess the surveillance monitoring requirements for the mine, details of the design, implementation of a near real-time monitoring system and the difficulties associated with the work.