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:
Rory Nathan, Peter Hill
This paper provides an overview of the different simulation frameworks used for the estimation of design floods.. For small events the behaviour of many flood modifying factors is highly variable and chaotic, whereas as the magnitude of the event increases so does the organising influence of the dominant meteorologic conditions. The approach to design flood estimation will depend upon the availability of data and the exceedance probabilities of interest. The techniques can vary from frequency analysis of the data recorded at a site to rainfall-runoff modelling with design rainfall inputs derived from regional frequency analysis. For extreme floods, which are of relevance for assessing flood loadings for dams and the assessment of spillway adequacy, the stochastic (Monte Carlo) approach offers a number of advantages over the traditional deterministic approach. Although there has been significant progress in design flood estimation practice in Australia over the last couple of decades there remains many significant research and training needs.
Peter Hill and Rory Nathan
The ANCOLD Acceptable Flood Capacity (AFC) guidelines were published in 2000 and provide guidance on the selection of design flood capacities for dams and specifically a deterministic fallback provision for spillway capacities. Since the guideline was published, there has been a continual evolution in dam safety management practices and related guidelines, including the 2003 ANCOLD guidelines on risk assessment and the current revision of Australian Rainfall and Runoff by Engineers Australia. This paper describes the scope of the current AFC guidelines and perceived opportunities for refinement. A survey of users was used to test and identify issues and gauge the need for the guideline to be updated. A number of topics were identified that would benefit from clarification or further guidance. These topics include consistency with other ANCOLD guidelines, clarity on the selection of the AFC, definition of the dam crest flood, freeboard and application to gated structures.
“The move to a risk-based approach to the management of dam safety requires robust estimates of the consequences of failure, and particularly the potential loss of life.” (Hill et al. 2007) In Australia to date, the empirical method developed by Graham (1999) is the most widely applied approach for estimating loss of life from dambreak flooding. However, as the move to risk-based approaches of dam safety management has gathered momentum internationally, increasingly sophisticated techniques for estimating loss of life have emerged. For example, Utah State University has developed the LIFESim model (Aboelata et al. 2002, 2003, 2004) and BC Hydro the Life Safety Model (Johnstone et al. 2003, 2005), while the United States Army Corps of Engineers have incorporated a simplified version of LIFESim into a software package they use to simulate the impacts of dambreak flooding (HEC-FIA). One advantage of the LIFESim, LSM and HEC-FIA models is that they can be used to estimate loss of life attributable to both natural and dambreak flooding. These models, along with empirical methods developed by Graham (2004, 2006), HR Wallingford (Pennning-Roswell et al. 2005, Priest et al. 2007) and Jonkman (2007) for estimating loss of life from flooding are reviewed in this paper, with an eye to their applicability in Australian contexts. This research was conducted with support from the 2009 ANCOLD travel bursary for young professionals.
Keywords: loss of life, dam safety risk analysis.
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.
Chriselyn Meneses, Simon Lang, Peter Hill, Mark Arnold
Risk is the product of likelihood and consequences. Much effort is put into the risk assessment process for large dams to ensure there is a consistent approach to estimating failure likelihoods across an owner’s portfolio. For example, the use of common peer review teams and methods like the ‘piping toolbox’ allow the risk assessment team to apply repeatable logic and processes when estimating failure likelihoods. However, the methods for estimating life safety consequences are often not applied consistently. This inconsistency leads to estimates of potential loss of life (PLL) that vary between dams in unexpected ways, because results from the most commonly applied method (Graham, 1999) are sensitive to threshold changes in flood severity and dam failure warning time.
The recently released Reclamation Consequence Estimating Methodology (RCEM) is intended to supersede Graham (1999). RCEM varies fatality rates continuously with DV, and is therefore less sensitive to changes in flood severity. In this paper, estimates of PLL from RCEM are compared with results from Graham (1999) for five dams. Results from the latest US Army Corps of Engineers model for estimating the consequences of dam failure (HEC-FIA 3.0) are also compared with RCEM and Graham (1999) for one dam. Comment is then made about the important considerations for applying RCEM consistently across a portfolio of dams.
Keywords: potential loss of life, dam safety, risk analysis