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
Kristen Sih, Peter Hill, Susan Ryan, Siraj Perera
Although ANCOLD provides guidance on good dam safety practices, in Australia it is the State and Territory Governments’ role to protect the public from dam safety incidents and in many cases these jurisdictions have legally binding regulations in place that dam owners must adhere to. This paper presents a comparative analysis of the dam safety regulations currently in place for Australian states, as well as selected international jurisdictions. The limit of applicability of the regulations, number of dams regulated, content of the regulations and powers and responsibilities of the regulator are all compared. It was found that there is a large range within each of these categories with regulatory approaches varying from light-handed and objective based, to highly prescriptive. The extent to which risk management principles are used in the regulations for each jurisdiction has also been investigated. It was found that in jurisdictions where higher hazard category dams account for a higher proportion of dams being regulated, risk analysis is included in the regulations. Finally, the ANCOLD societal risk criteria and ALARP considerations have been compared and contrasted with those from international jurisdictions and other hazardous industries.
This paper presents a number of innovative hydrologic investigations undertaken for the recent
detailed design of upgrades for Ross River Dam in North Queensland. A key issue for estimating
extreme floods in the tropics is the estimation of flood events of long critical durations. The
implication is that there is an increased focus on estimating the correct volume (not only the peak
flow). This paper describes the regional analysis of flow volumes that was used to validate the
estimated flood volumes.
Another issue of considerable importance is the assumed relationship between inflows and initial
reservoir level. The analyses described in this paper showed that inflows are independent of reservoir levels for the more frequent events but for more extreme events they are correlated. This has important implication on how the initial reservoir level is incorporated in the hydrologic analysis. The final aspect covered by the paper is the derivation of seasonal flood frequency curves. This is particularly important given the highly seasonal nature of rainfalls in the tropics and the results are important for assessing risks during construction and scheduling the upgrade works.
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.
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).
The ANCOLD (2003) Guidelines on Risk Assessment contain criteria regarding the tolerable level of individual risk from dam failure. Maslin et al. (2012) describe an approach to estimating individual risk from dam failure, using exposure factors, warning and evacuation factors, and fatality factors. These factors vary according to the people at risk, the anticipated warning time, the flood severity and the shelter people are likely to be in. Maslin et al. (2012) provide step-by-step instructions, which means their approach can be applied in a consistent manner from dam to dam. However, the recommended fatality factors are based on Graham (1999) and DHS (2011) definitions of high, medium and low severity flooding which have been superseded by the Reclamation Consequence Estimating Methodology (RCEM). Therefore, in this paper modifications to the Maslin et al. (2012) approach are proposed, so that estimates of individual risk from dam failure are consistent with RCEM-based estimates of societal risk. The paper then concludes with two predictions about how the assessment and use of individual risk in Australian dam safety management may change in future.