Damien Bryan, John Sukkar, Erin Hughes, Michael Cawood
Alert triggers are a critical component of Dam Safety Emergency Management, aligning clearly defined adverse conditions with alert levels to initiate an appropriate emergency response. Early detection of these conditions allows for potential mitigation measures to be undertaken, early engagement of key stakeholders such as emergency agencies, and where necessary, the warning or evacuation of affected downstream communities. The Dam Safety Alert Trigger Framework provides WaterNSW with a consistent, repeatable, and defensible methodology for the determination of appropriate dam safety alert triggers. The framework was developed through the engagement of consultants, emergency and regulatory agencies (NSW SES & DSNSW), and several Australian large dam owners.
The determination of appropriate Dam Safety Alert Triggers is a challenge faced by all dam owners. Through the development and implementation of the Alert Trigger Framework, WaterNSW has achieved the ability to define defensible alert triggers through a consistent and repeatable methodology. This has resulted in an improved dam safety emergency response posture for WaterNSW, key emergency services partner the NSW SES, and greater protection for affected downstream communities. Concepts, processes and methodology covered in this paper could be used by other dam owners in addressing their own dam safety alert trigger challenges.
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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.
Vicent Espert, Peter Buchanan, Colleen Baker, Malcolm Barker, Mark Locke
Mangrove Creek dam is an 80 m high CFRD constructed between 1976 and 1982 for water supply to the NSW Central Coast area, and is currently operated by Central Coast Council (CCC). The dam is classified as a ‘High A’ Consequence Category dam for both Sunny Day and Flood breach in accordance with ANCOLD guidelines.
Previous assessments of the dam identified that it would not be able to safely pass the ANCOLD Fallback flood capacity of the PMP flood in its current configuration. As such, the dam has been operated at a restricted full supply level for many years.
In 2020, GHD was engaged by CCC to develop a concept and detailed design to increase the spillway capacity using a standards-based approach to achieve the flood capacity fallback position. The first phases of this contract also required GHD to undertake additional investigations and analyses of various aspects of the dam and spillway to confirm the scope of works for the upgrade. During this review, it became evident that although the spillway capacity does not meet the ANCOLD fallback position, the Annual Exceedance Probability (AEP) of the existing capacity was relatively low and could potentially be deemed acceptable from a risk-based position.
A Risk Assessment was subsequently undertaken, with a SFAIRP assessment developed based on the new Dam Safety NSW guidelines. This assessment may be the first one to be completed for a major dam using the Dam Safety NSW guidelines. This paper discusses the different outcomes for a standards-based ‘Fallback’/’Simplified’ criteria and risk criteria based on DS NSW regulations, as well as the investigations developed to maintain confidence in the assessment. In addition, it describes a practical case for the application of SFAIRP criteria to a major dam.
In the case of Mangrove Creek Dam, the application of the new DS NSW Guidelines resulted in the dam being assessed as acceptable in its current state, with the FSL returned to the original design level. The outcome provided significant savings to the client, by avoiding costly upgrade works and avoiding disruption to the operation of the storage – a real success story.
Zara Bostock, Helena Sutherland
Ewen Maddock Dam is located approximately 12.0 km west of Caloundra, in the Sunshine Coast area of Southern Queensland. The dam is a homogeneous earthfill embankment dam 10.5 m high and 724 m long. The dam was originally built between 1973 and 1976 and later upgraded in 1982 to raise the ogee spillway crest by 2.44 m to the current Full Supply Level (FSL) of 25.38 m AHD.
Seqwater is undertaking a staged upgrade of Ewen Maddock Dam to address deficiencies identified during the Acceptable Flood Capacity (AFC) Review (GHD, 2010). The consequence category assigned to Ewen Maddock Dam is ‘Extreme’ with a downstream Population at Risk greater than 1000.
Stage 1 construction was completed in 2012 to manage the seepage underneath the dam to reduce the risk of piping and improve embankment stability. Stage 2A involved retrofitting a filter in the existing embankment and raising the dam 1.61 m to 30.11 m AHD using a reinforced concrete parapet wall. Stage 2B involves spillway upgrade works and was split from 2A due to approval constraints.
Stage 2A construction was completed in April 2021, navigating various project and dam safety challenges. This paper presents some practical ways dam safety and risk was managed on the ground from the perspective of both the designer and owner.
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.
Ryan Singh, Jiri Herza, James Thorp, Michael Ashley
Performance-based risk-informed decision making is an underlying principle of the Global Industry
Standard on Tailings Management (GISTM). While owners make significant efforts to align with this
principle, commonly used risk assessment and management practices in the mining industry have largely been based on the HSE principles, which consider more frequent, lower consequence incidents.
As a result, the existing risk assessment frameworks do not provide the owners with a comprehensive understanding of the risk profiles of their tailings storage facilities (TSFs). Without the understanding of a facility’s risk profile, the owners cannot appreciate how changes to their facility, processes and operational activities may impact the risk profile. A large step-change in thinking is therefore required in risk assessment practices for the owner to align their TSF management with GISTM requirements.
Beyond risk assessments, the mining industry has other valuable concepts to manage the safety of their tailings management practices, such as Critical Controls, however, commonly used risk assessment and management practices do not incorporate these concepts.
This paper explores commonly used risk assessment practices and the concepts of Critical Controls. It proposes how these concepts can be linked, with Critical Controls being embedded in the risk assessment process. The outcomes of linking these concepts result in an estimation of the effectiveness of the Critical Controls and how they can be improved to demonstrably reduce the risk presented by a TSF. A case study has been included to demonstrate the benefits of linking risk assessment with Critical Controls and how owners can readily identify deficiencies and efficiently manage the risk profiles of their facilities.