Colleen Baker, Sean Ladiges, Peter Buchanan, James Willey, Malcolm Barker
Dam Owners and Designers are often posed with the question “what is an acceptable flood risk to adopt during the construction of dam upgrade works?” Both the current ANCOLD Guidelines on Acceptable Flood Capacity (2000) and the draft Guidelines on Acceptable Flood Capacity (2016) provide guidance on the acceptability of flood risk during the construction phase. The overarching principle in both the current and draft documents is that the dam safety risk should be no greater than prior to the works, unless it can be shown that this cannot reasonably be achieved.Typically with dam upgrade projects it is not feasible to take reservoirs off-line during upgrade works, with commercial and societal considerations taking precedent. It is therefore often necessary to operate the reservoir at normal levels or with only limited drawdown. The implementation of measures to maintain the risk at or below that of the pre-upgraded dam can have significant financial and program impacts on projects, such as through the construction of elaborate cofferdam arrangements and/or staging of works. This is particularly the case where upgrade works involve modifications to the dam’s spillway.The use of risk assessment has provided a reasonable basis for evaluating the existing and incremental risks associated with the works, such as the requirement for implementation of critical construction works during periods where floods are less likely, in order to justify the As Low As Reasonably Practicable (ALARP) position. This paper explores the ANCOLD guidelines addressing flood risk, and compares against international practice. The paper also presents a number of case studies of construction flood risk mitigation adopted for dam upgrades on some of Australia’s High and Extreme consequence dams, as well as international examples. The case studies demonstrate a range of construction approaches which enable compliance with the ANCOLD Acceptable Flood Capacity guidelines
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Elaine Pang, Robert Fowden
There are numerous established methods available for assessing the consequences of failure for earthen water dams.The estimation of breach dimensions and failure times remains the greatest common area of uncertainty, particularly for dams under 10m in height, where the number of historic records behind the established methods reduces considerably.Also, various factors can have a significant impact on the strength of small dam embankments, potentially contributing to the likelihood of failure.Consequently, failure impact assessments for smaller dams may rely more heavily on the engineering judgement of the responsible engineer. Although the consequences of failure may indeed be lower for smaller dams, the large number of unknown or unregulated dams in some locations means that it can be difficult to quantify their overall contribution in terms of dam safety risk. This paper presents an on-going project to compile and analyse observed small earthen dam failures with the intent of refining existing statistical breach relationships for smaller dams.Context is provided through an overview of DEWS’ investigative program, including the presentation of several case studies which highlight field data collected throughout the program.
Mojtaba E. Kan, Hossein A. Taiebat and Mahdi Taiebat
In design of new embankment dams or evaluation of the performance of existing earthfill and rockfill dams, the Newmark-type Simplified Methods are widely used to estimate the earthquake-induced displacements. These methods are simple, inexpensive, and substantially less time consuming as compared to the complicated stress–deformation approaches. They are especially recommended by technical guidelines to be used as a screening tool, to identify embankments with marginal factor of safety. The methods would serve as a reliable screening tool had they always resulted in conservative estimates of settlements. However, a number of studies in the last 15 years show the contrary. This paper provides a critical review of the fundamental theory behind the simplified Newmark-type methods. Cases in which the results of the simplified methods are reportedly non conservative are further investigated and possible reasons are discussed, that may be taken into account in future design and investigations of Australian dams. The reliability of the simplified methods is examined based on the existing thresholds proposed in the literature and accounting for the embankment geometry and type, and for the seismic activity characterization. A recently proposed practical framework is further elaborated to demonstrate its effectiveness in the study of seismic behaviour of embankment dams. In particular, the case study of Zipingpu concrete faced rockfill dam in China is discussed where all widely used simplified procedures failed to predict the order of deformations experienced by the Dam under a recent strong earthquake event.
Chriselyn Kavanagh, Simon Lang, Andrew Northfield, Peter Hill
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers have recently releasedHEC-LifeSim1.0, a dynamic simulation model for estimating life loss from severe flooding (Fields, 2016). In contrast to the empirical models that are often used to estimate life loss from dam failure, HEC-LifeSim explicitly models the warning and mobilisation of the population at risk, and predicts the spatial distribution of fatalities across the structures and transport networks expected to be inundated. This capability provides additional insights to dam owners that can be used to better understand and reduce the life safety risks posed by large dams. In this paper, we demonstrate the use of HEC-LifeSim to model the potential loss of life from failure of five large Australian dams. Particular attention is paid to how the predicted life loss varies with warning time, in a manner that depends on human response and the transport network’s capacity for mass evacuations, and the modelled severity of flooding. We also examine how the HEC-LifeSim estimates of life loss compare with those from the empirical Reclamation Consequence Estimating Methodology (RCEM).
Paul Somerville, Andreas Skarlatoudis and Don Macfarlane
The 2017 draft ANCOLD Guidelines for Design of Dams and Appurtenant Structures for Earthquake specify that active faults (with movement in the last 11,000 to 35,000 years) and neotectonic faults (with movement in the current crustal stress regime, in the past 5 to 10 million years) which could significantly contribute to the ground motion for the dam should be identified, and be accounted for in the seismic hazard assessment. The purpose of this paper is to provide guidance on the conditions under which these contributions could be significant in a probabilistic seismic hazard analysis (PSHA)and a deterministic seismic hazard analysis (DSHA).We consider five primary conditions under which identified faults can contribute significantly to the hazard: proximity, probability of activity, rate of activity, magnitude distribution, and return period under consideration
Mark Pearse, Peter Hill
Risk assessments for large dams and the design of upgrades are often dependent on estimates of peak inflows and outflows well beyond those observed in the historic record. The flood frequencies are therefore simulated using rainfall-runoff models and design rainfalls. The recent update of Australian Rainfall and Runoff (ARR) has revised the design rainfalls used to model floods that are of interest to dam owners. This will change the best estimate of flood frequencies for some dams. However, for most dams the impact of revised design rainfalls on flood frequencies is small compared to other factors that can change (independent of dam upgrades). These include model re-calibrations to larger floods, changes to operating procedures that affect the drawdown distribution and improvements in how the joint probabilities of flood causing factors are simulated. In this paper, we look at how the design flood frequencies for some of Australia’s large dams have changed, the reasons for this and then identify five key questions for dam owners to ask to aid assessment of whether the hydrology for a dam should be reviewed