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:
Tommie Conway, Katherine Miller, Peter Hill
The ‘Black Saturday’ fires of the 7th of February 2009 and the continuation of fires over the following weeks had devastating human, environmental and financial costs for Victoria. Many of Melbourne’s water supply catchments and assets were burnt and the major harvesting catchments were seriously threatened. This paper highlights the need for owners and managers of catchments, dams and associated infrastructure to better understand and plan for the potential impacts of fire, given its predicted increased likelihood and severity due to climate change.
The paper will share Melbourne Water’s recent experiences of the fire, the scale of the impact to the business in terms of assets damaged and catchments affected, the extent of the burn and the threat that was faced. It will describe Melbourne Water’s experience with the United States Burnt Area Emergency Response (BAER) team to expediently map the severity of the fires, to identify areas of concern and prioritise fire recovery works. Of interest to those involved in risk management will be the discussion of the construction flood risk analysis at Tarago Reservoir which was revisited due to severe fire damage to the catchment.
Keywords: fire impact, Melbourne’s water catchments, BAER team, hydrology, Tarago, construction flood risk analysis
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.
Many Australian and international dam owners use risk assessments to understand and manage the societal risks posed by their dams. This requires estimates of dam failure consequences, particularly the potential loss of life (PLL). The methods used to assess PLL have become more varied and sophisticated in recent times. This paper summarises the current status of the methods most relevant to the Australian dams industry (i.e. RCEM, HEC-LifeSim, the Life Safety Model), and comments on their applicability for Australian PLL assessments. This commentary is based on material presented by dam owners, regulators, researchers and consultants from the United States, Canada, United Kingdom and the Netherlands, at workshops on estimating dam failure consequences held in Denver in 2016 and Toronto in 2018.
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.
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.