Dambreak & Consequences (September 2013) – MODULES 1 to 5
An understanding of the consequences of dam failure is essential in dam safety emergency planning and as an input to risk assessment. In recent years there has been significant advances in hydraulic modelling and access to high quality elevation data which has revolutionised dambreak modelling. The advent of risk based approaches has increased the focus on estimating the consequence of dam failure and particularly the potential loss of life. The method developed by the USBR in 1999 has had widespread application in Australia and in recent years a number of more sophisticated simulation approaches have been developed. This session will cover the latest developments in dambreak modelling and the estimation of potential loss of life from dam failure.
This course is designed to present the state of practice on these matters for dam safety risk management. The 2 days are designed for both experienced and less experienced dam owners, regulators and consultants.
Includes access to the following videos:
Chriselyn Kavanagh, David Stephens, Peter Hill
Two-dimensional hydraulic models are now widely used to simulate flooding downstream of dams as part of dambreak assessment studies. These models provide high resolution information on velocity distribution across the floodplain, which is of paramount importance to accurate estimation of the depth-velocity product required when undertaking loss of life assessments. In addition, the outputs from these models are much more readily presented as maps and animations, which can be an important tool in the dam safety emergency planning process.
Recently, the United States Army Corps of Engineers released a new version of the popular hydraulic model HEC-RAS which includes the ability to conduct two-dimensional simulations. Other widely used two-dimensional models include DHI’s MIKE suite and TUFLOW. This paper presents a review of the capability, functionality and useability of these models for the specific purpose of dambreak modelling. Key features considered as part of the review include model stability, run times, methods of simulating dam breaches, outputs and the ability to link to loss of life simulation models. A case study comparing the performance of three commonly applied models is presented and discussed, and advice is provided on model selection.
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).
Simon Lang, Peter Hill, Wayne Graham
The empirical method developed by Graham (1999) is the most widely used in Australia to estimate potential loss of life from dam failure. It is likely to remain that way while spatially based dynamic simulation models are not publicly available (e.g. LIFESim, HEC-FIA and LSM). When the Graham (1999) approach was first developed the prevalence of spatial data and the speed of computers was much less. In addition, most people did not have mobile phones, social media was in its infancy, and automatic emergency alert telephone systems were 10 years from being used in Australia. Graham (1999) was intended to be applied to populations at risk (PAR) lumped into a discrete number of reaches. The selection of fatality rates for the PAR in each reach was based on average flood severity and dam failure warning times. Today, there is typically much more spatially distributed data available to those doing dam failure consequence assessments. Often a property database is available that identifies the location of each individual building where PAR may be, along with estimates of flood depths and velocities at those buildings. News of severe flooding is likely to be circulated by Facebook, Twitter and e-mail, in conjunction with official warnings provided by emergency agencies through radio and television and emergency alert telephone systems.
This raises the question of how Graham (1999) is best applied in today’s digital age. This paper explores some of the issues, including the estimation of dam failure warning time, using Graham (1999) to estimate loss of life in individual buildings and the suitability of Graham (1999) for estimating loss of life for very large PAR.
Keywords: loss of life, dam safety, risk analysis.
Phillip Jordan, Alan Seed, Rory Nathan, Peter Hill, Eva Kordomenidi, Clive Pierce, Michael Leonard
This paper discusses the stochastic framework that was used to generate the 5449 sets of inflow hydrographs, to develop and stress test a dam operations model. The stochastic simulations were driven by 600 different space-time patterns of rainfall generated using a stochastic space-time multiplicative cascade model. Eight significant storms were identified in the radar archive to identify parameter sets for the stochastic generation algorithm and 600 replicates of space-time rainfall were generated. The statistical properties of spatial patterns of 48-hour rainfall bursts on eight major subcatchments of the Brisbane River catchment from the 600 stochastic replicates were verified against the same statistics derived from 38 major flood causing rainfall events observed in the catchment. The hydrographs were generated using an URBS rainfall runoff routing model of the Brisbane River catchment, which was calibrated to 38 historical flood events (between 1955 and 2013) and tested on a further 10 historical flood events (between 1887 and 1947).
The stochastically simulated sets of inflow hydrographs were then used to assess the impact of variations in flood operation rules for Wivenhoe and Somerset dams. The stochastically generated events exhibit substantial variability in runoff hydrographs but with variability that is statistically consistent with observed events. The stochastically generated hydrographs provide a considerably more realistic basis for testing the outcomes for different flood operations strategies than the single design event approaches that have previously been adopted.
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