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Mark Locke, Buddhima Indraratna, Phillip Cummins and Gamini Adikari
ABSTRACT: Australia has a large number of older embankment dams, which have been in service and performed adequately for over 50 years. However, current industry practice in embankment dam design predicts that the granular filters within these dams may not be adequate. This may require refurbishment of the dam by retro-fitting a new filter to ensure the continued safety of the structure. This paper outlines the potential problems with older embankment dam designs, and the reasons for constructing a new filter. Potential problems may include inadequate or non-existent filters, risk of failure due to earthquake, piping, or excessive foundation seepage. Design methods for granular filters are described briefly, concentrating on whether an existing filter is adequate, and the potential improvement by constructing a new filter. Construction issues for placing filters on existing dams are also discussed.
A new analytical method, developed to describe the time dependent erosion and filtration within embankment dams, is described briefly. The model predicts particle erosion, transport and retention based on fundamental fluid mechanics and geotechnical concepts. The application of this model to the design of filters for new and existing dams will be described. The predictions of such analytical modelling can give a designer a significantly clearer picture of the purpose of a granular filter, the extent of core erosion that can be expected, and the effect of retrofitting a new filter to an existing dam.
Glen Hobbs and Danny Azavedo
Recent years have seen a growing awareness and understanding of the factors that contribute to the reliability of spillway gates and the incorporation of reliability data into overall dam risk studies.
The study of a number of spillway gate failures shows that no one component or incident leads to gate failure, but rather a combination of factors have resulted in gate failure. A rigorous reliability assessment should consider all factors, not only the equipment condition and performance but the complete system, from the receipt of data through to the actuation of the gates. It should take into account issues such as human factors, poor design, maintenance history and policy. Unfortunately one of the main hindrances to quantifying gate reliability is the lack of information on spillway gate equipment and system performance and failures.
This paper considers a number of gate failures, then looks at some of the tools of reliability assessment and the role of human factors in gate reliability.
The paper then discusses a recent study of four gated dams. For this study a systems approach was adopted and human factors were considered. The results compare favourably with other similar critical structures, and show that for these well designed and maintained structures human factors are the limiting criteria in multiple gate operations. The study also shows that the probability of opening all the spillway gates at a dam improves with time (2-4 hours) during the flood operation, and it is considered that time based reliability provides a more meaningful and useful assessment of overall spillway gate reliability.
B. S. Sherman
Many large Australian dams currently lack selective withdrawal capabilities and release water mainly from deep within the hypolimnion. Deep-water releases coupled with the strong thermal stratification typical of Australian reservoirs results in discharge temperatures 10 °C or more colder than would normally be expected. Cold water pollution has impacted more than 1000 km of river habitat in Australia where it is known to impair spawning, feeding and survival of many native fishes.
This report reviews alternative approaches for the mitigation of cold water pollution below dams. The underlying theory and practical limitations of operation as well as field experience (including cost) with each of the methods are discussed. Two methods in particular, suface pumps and submerged curtains, appear to offer cost-effective alternatives to the expensive retrofitting of dams with multi-level outlet structures (estimated to cost $5-35m per dam for major dams in NSW). These methods are predicted to be capable of increasing discharge temperatures by 4-10 ° throughout the range of irrigation releases without any redirection of flows, i.e. hydropower releases can be maintained at present levels. This holds the promise of restoring more desirable temperatures over hundreds of kilometres of river.
Robert Wark, Nihal Vitharana and Michael Somerford
This paper reviews the history of dam remedial works on publicly-owned dams in Western Australia over the last 40 years. Projects have ranged from refurbishment of the facilities, through capacity upgrades to complete reconstruction. Major work has been undertaken on at least thirty dams. Most of these dams are now owned by Western Australia’s Water Corporation. The Corporation continues to undertake remedial works where necessary and now has a strategy in place for an on-going program of remedial works.
The paper outlines the scope of the work undertaken and why the work was required. The current status of the Corporation’s planning for an on-going remedial works program is also reported.
Michael Somerford, Michelle Northover and Steve Wilke
Western Australia’s Water Corporation is constructing the Stirling-Harvey Redevelopment Scheme, a $275 million scheme to supplement Perth’s public supply. A major component of the scheme is the construction of the Harvey Dam, a 45 metre high, earth core rockfill dam.
The main environmental issues associated with the construction of the Harvey Dam are related to construction and traffic noise, blast vibration and dust generated during the construction period. Appropriate environmental management is required to minimise noise and dust emissions because of nearby schools, town site, residences and horticultural activities.
The new reservoir will commence filling in 2002. It will inundate several private properties, farming land, an area of pine plantation and six sites of cultural and heritage significance.
This paper discusses the management and monitoring strategies associated with the construction of the new dam. It also describes the initiatives that the Water Corporation has undertaken to ensure that adverse impacts of the project on the environment are minimised.