Jonathon Reid, Brendan Trebilco
The dam reviewed was designed and constructed in two stages, with the embankment completed in 1965. The dam comprises a 37 m high earth and rockfill maximum section on the creek alignment and zoned earthfill embankments of varying arrangements on the abutment flanks with a total crest length over 2km.
A Dam Safety Review was undertaken as part of the owners on-going commitment to maintain its portfolio of dams in a safe and functional state. The dam has suffered from high seepage rates that were first observed in 1971 after the reservoir rose to a historic high level, which was then exacerbated in 2011 after the reservoir rose a further 10m to reach the Full Supply Level for the first time. Reviews of the embankment stability at this time resulted in operating restrictions being placed on the reservoir level.
Detailed instrumentation data collected over a range of filling events showed the rock foundations to be highly responsive in the areas of observed seepage. This resulted in rapid pore pressure responses in foundation soils and the lower portion of the embankment after a rise in reservoir level, but a much slower pore pressure response in the upper parts of the embankment.
Seepage and stability analyses were undertaken based on the high quality instrumentation data to review the stability of the sections for various operating levels and with projected pore pressure increases for rapid flood loading scenarios. The paper explores the sensitivity of the analyses completed and how different construction standards applied to varying sections on the same embankment resulting in acceptable and undesirable outcomes.
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Reena Ram, Siraj Perera, Mark Pearse, John Pisaniello, Shane McGrath, Joanne Tingey-Holyoak, Peter Hill
Dam construction in Victoria commenced in the 1850s and there are over 8,000 dams currently regulated by the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning (DELWP). Dam ownership spans across state owned water utilities and local government authorities to privately owned hydro-electricity generators and farmers.
Victoria was one of the first states in Australia to adopt risk-informed principles in the management and regulation of dam safety. A recent review of the State’s dam safety regulatory framework included a comparative analysis of Victoria’s dam safety arrangements with other regulatory regimes within Australia and overseas, including a total of 16 jurisdictions. A similar review was conducted in 2010.
The objective of the 2019 review was to examine the effectiveness of dam safety regulation in managing dam safety risks in Victoria and to assess the extent that dam safety regulation was consistent with good practice so that improvement opportunities could be identified.
This paper discusses the processes adopted in comparing various regulatory models, identification of good international practices and opportunities to achieve improved public safety outcomes for dam owners and regulators. In particular, it outlines how the State’s journey in progressively reducing dam safety risks over the years can be further strengthened.
Olle Wennstrom, Andrew White
Over the last few years tailings dams have come under increased scrutiny, partly due to two highly publicised TSF failures in South America, but also because of several other incidents in Australia and elsewhere in the world. As investors came under pressure to positively impact the projects they financed, the Global Industry Standard on Tailings Management (GISTM) was released in August 2020.
Topic 5 of GISTM, “Emergency response and long-term recovery”, comprises Principle 13: “Prepare for emergency response to tailings facility failures” and Principle 14: “Prepare for long-term recovery in the event of catastrophic failure”. The topic further introduces the term “Emergency Preparedness and Response Plan” (EPRP).
This paper explains what the term “Emergency Preparedness” means and how the owner/operator of a mine can achieve it. The paper also delivers a concept for long-term recovery planning.
Chris Nielsen, Ron Guppy, Gary Hargraves, Robert Fowden
Dam safety upgrade projects of major dams typically involve a large capital investment. It is important that expenditure decisions are based on sound criteria, both technical and non-technical. Independent peer review of technical matters plays a key role in meeting design, construction and safety objectives within practical financial constraints and assuring robust, resilient and reliable project outcomes.
An independent technical review is recommended for all dam projects.
The Queensland dam safety regulator has developed guidelines associated with technical review for dam safety projects that considers scope and limitations, expertise and governance. The guidelines are informed by literature, recent projects, a commission of inquiry, internal and external review and industry feedback. The guidelines are being implemented across major dam safety upgrade business cases through preparation of terms of reference by the Queensland Government’s business planning and implementation entities, who maintain the responsibility of providing assurance to state government projects, as well as the state’s major dam owners.
The terms of reference, supported by the underlying principles in the guidelines, provide a platform for consistent and appropriate application of technical assurance to dam projects in Queensland. Among other matters, governance is highlighted as a critical factor for success as well as clarity of the roles, responsibilities and reporting lines of all parties. The application of both guidelines and terms of reference to recent projects is discussed.
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.
Meizhiwen Zheng, Nimal Gamage
This study used MIKE 21 to replicate the Cooma tank failure by varying modelling input parameters. This study explores the mechanism by which flood water can damage buildings and investigated different damage category assessment method to predict building damages.