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:
$0.00 - $80.00
Simon Lang, David Stephens, Peter Hill, Mark Arnold and Tommie Conway
Considerable thought has been given in recent years to managing the risks associated with floods during the construction of new dams and dam upgrades. Both ANCOLD and the NSW DSC provide some limited advice on how this risk should be managed, with many dam owners aiming for societal risk during construction to be no higher than pre-construction. One approach to do this is to draw down the reservoir such that sufficient airspace is created to reduce the probability of overtopping the construction works to be equal to that of overtopping the dam crest pre-construction. However, this frequently leads to very large releases of valuable water resource being required. This approach also fails to consider that the conditional probabilities of failure may be quite different during construction than during normal operation. A risk-based approach was applied for the recent upgrade of Tarago Reservoir. Existing event trees from a failure modes analysis were adjusted to reflect the construction conditions. In some cases, the event probabilities increased (for example as a result of excavation of the dam embankment), however some also decreased (for example as a result of more rapid means of detecting and intervening in breach formation during construction). The conditional probabilities of failure during construction were then used to estimate the overall seasonal probability of failure, and it was found that a limited draw down of the reservoir would be sufficient to ensure that risks were no higher during construction than pre-construction. To reinforce this, the cost-to-save-a-statistical life was estimated for further drawdown of the reservoir and used to demonstrate that the risks were as low as reasonably practicable.
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.
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
Roger Vreugdenhil, Peter Hill, Siraj Perera, Susan Ryan
All Australian water authorities have in place dam safety programs that seek to ensure the ongoing safety and serviceability of their dams along with the benefits they secure for the wider community. Many have progressed multiple dam safety upgrades over the past decade and embraced risk assessment as a helpful tool in prioritising upgrade investment.
The ANCOLD Guidelines on Risk Assessment (2003) have been applied across the country and, coupled with State regulation, have supported dam owner efforts in reducing risks below the ANCOLD “Limit of Tolerability”. However, it is generally acknowledged that in their current form, the ANCOLD guidelines provide limited guidance to dam owners for determining appropriate levels of risk reduction and timing of dam safety improvements. This has contributed to a range of guideline interpretations and inconsistency in subsequent dam safety investment decisions across Australia. Having achieved priority risk reduction, a number of owners are beginning to assess their dams against the ALARP principle, bringing dam safety investment within an owner’s portfolio into more direct competition with other important and urgent organisational investment decisions.
This paper outlines the outcomes of a recent study commissioned by the Victoria Department of Sustainability and Environment into risk reduction principles and the application of ALARP by a number of Australian and international dam owners and regulators, hazardous industry owners and regulators, and the interaction of ALARP with whole-of-organisation investment. The paper highlights the study process and significant points of interest regarding risk reduction principles and current application of ALARP and some options for refinement and clarity.
Towards increased clarity in the application of ALARP
Peter Hill, Phillip Jordan, Rory Nathan, Emily Payne
Abstract: There are a number of issues that need to be considered when deriving estimates of floods used to assess construction flood risk. This paper outlines the derivation of seasonal flood frequency curves and highlights the important differences in seasonality across Australia and the variation with the exceedance probability. Examples are provided as to how these seasonal frequency curves are used to estimate the construction flood risk during a particular construction activity in a safety upgrade for an existing dam or construction of a new dam. The paper also touches on the issues associated with estimating consequences for assessing construction flood risk.
Keywords: construction flood, risk, seasonal hydrology, hydrologic loading