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, 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).
Jason Needham, John Sorensen, Dennis Mileti, Simon Lang
The potential loss of life from floods, including those caused by dam failure, is sensitive to assumptions about warning and evacuation of the population at risk. Therefore, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers engaged with social scientists to better understand the process of warning and mobilizing communities that experience severe flooding. This improved understanding enables dam owners to better assess the existing risk posed by their assets and investigate non-structural risk reduction measures alongside structural upgrades.
In this paper, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers research is summarised to provide general guidance on the warning and mobilization of populations at risk for practitioners assessing the potential loss of life from dam failure. This includes commentary and quantification of three primary timeframes: warning issuance delay, warning diffusion, and protective action initiation. A questionnaire for estimating these parameters is also introduced, alongside a case study application for an Australian dam.
This paper also summarises the current understanding of how to reduce delays in determining when to issue warnings, increase speed at which warnings spread through communities, and decrease the time people spend before taking the recommended protective action. These insights will help all people involved with emergency management, including those tasked with developing Dam Safety Emergency Plans.
Andrew Northfield, Simon Lang, Peter Hill
Melbourne Water currently manages more than230retarding basins (RBs). A large portion of these are less than 4 metres high, and traditionally structures of this size have not been subject to intermediate or detailed ANCOLD Consequence Assessments. However, the need to understand the failure consequences for smaller structures has increased over time, as risk based approaches to managing safety have expanded from large dams to other water retaining assets.
Undertaking detailed consequence assessments for all Melbourne Water’s RBs would not be practical, given the costs and time involved. Therefore, this paper describes a method for assessing the level of ANCOLD Consequence Assessment that is justified, based on the structure’s attributes. It also presents an equation that was used to estimate peak outflows from RB failure. The peak outflow estimates can be used to model approximate failure inundation extents downstream of small dams and RBs.
The paper draws on work that HARC have recently undertaken for Melbourne Water to assess the failure consequences for 88 RBs. The outcomes are relevant to other organisations that own or manage significant numbers of small water dams or RBs.
Simon Lang, Chriselyn Meneses, Kelly Maslin, Mark Arnold
It is now common practice for dam owners in Australia to take a risk based approach to managing the safety of their large dams. Some dam owners are also using risk based approaches to manage other significant assets. For example, Melbourne Water manage the safety of their retarding basins in a manner similar to their water supply dams.
Assessing the risks posed by retarding basins using methods developed for larger dams can raise challenges. For example, the Graham (1999) approach to estimating potential loss of life (PLL) is generally applied when estimating the consequences of dam failure. However, Graham (1999) may not be the most suitable model for estimating PLL downstream of structures with relatively low heights and storage volumes (e.g. retarding basins), given the characteristics of the case histories used to develop the method.
In this paper six potential methods for estimating PLL are tested on four retarding basins in Melbourne. The methods are Graham (1999), the new Reclamation Consequence Estimating Methodology (RCEM), the UK risk assessment for reservoir safety (RARS) method, a spreadsheet application of HEC-FIA 3.0, and empirical methods developed by Jonkman (2007) and Jonkman et al. (2009). Results from the methods are compared, and comment is made about which is most suitable.
Keywords: potential loss of life, dam safety, risk analysis, retarding basins.