Guidelines for Geotechnical Investigations of Dams, their Foundations and Appurtenant Structures (May 2020)
Dam safety requires a thorough understanding of the characteristics of the foundation and the materials that will be used, or have been used, for construction of a dam. These guidelines aim to improve practice to benefit dam owners through more effective and targeted investigations required to answer key questions about dams and their foundations.
Guidance is provided to owners, those preparing briefs for site investigations and for consultants carrying out the work. The Guidelines have been prepared to cover all types of water storage and tailings dams, both new and existing.
Common issues and objectives are described along with the steps required to undertake the investigations and appropriate methods.
These Guidelines are the culmination of extensive voluntary work by the Chairman, Emeritus Professor Robin Fell, and his Working Group. It is a significant development for dam engineering in Australia and will be a valuable resource.
Guidelines on Design Criteria for Concrete Gravity Dams (September 2013)Learn more
Within about ten years of the 1991 edition of the ANCOLD Guidelines on Design Criteria for Concrete Gravity Dams being published the Limit State design approach it proposed fell out of favour with Australian dam engineers. The ANCOLD Executive recognised this situation and resolved that the Guidelines be revised to reflect the preferred design approach amongst Australian dam engineers. A Working Group and a separate Expert Review Panel were formed in 2005 to review the Guidelines with the intention of preparing a document that was not only more in line with the current thinking but would also be widely adopted and used by practicing dam engineers.
It has not been an easy task for the Working Group and the Expert Review Panel. Although the working stress method, with associated Factors of Safety, approach was agreed amongst the team, it took considerable time and effort to reach consensus on the details, in particular chapters four through to six. The issue that took most effort to resolve was how the Factors of Safety relate to the level of certainty of the inputs, including knowledge of the foundations, loads, strength of materials and assumed mechanically feasible failure surfaces. The notes to Table 6.4.1 and the discussion in Appendix A highlight this issue.
One thing the drafting team agreed on early, and unanimously, was the importance of the concrete gravity dam design team having a thorough understanding of the foundation conditions, the development of a detailed geological model of the foundations and an understanding of the kinematically feasible failure mechanisms. In keeping with this principle, this revision of the guidelines has the section on foundations at the front of the document. There is a strong recommendation that the design team has expertise covering foundation geology and rock mechanics as well as the dam engineer.
These Guidelines provide a basis for design of concrete gravity dams in most situations. However, they require that the user will be a professional dam engineer with significant experience who is able to use sound engineering judgement in the application of the guidelines. It is recommended that less experienced dam engineers using these guidelines do so under the advice and guidance of an experienced dam engineer. It is the dam engineer who is responsible for the design.
On behalf of ANCOLD I would like to thank the members of the working group and all the other contributors that persevered in developing and bringing these Guidelines to fruition. They will be of great assistance to dam engineering professionals both within Australia and internationally.Ian Landon-Jones Chairman, ANCOLD Learn more
Guidelines on the Consequence Categories for Dams (October 2012)Learn more
ANCOLD has prepared these important Guidelines to provide a consistent method of categorising the consequences of dam failure so that resources can be allocated according to the potential effects of failure on the general community.
These Guidelines replace the ANCOLD Guidelines on the Assessment of the Consequences of Dam Failure issued in May 2000 and follow a similar approach. However, they include quite significant changes aimed at providing enhanced description of Consequence Categories and making them easier and more consistent to use.
The Technical Working Group has made every effort to make these Guidelines straightforward to use by professional engineers and consistent with other ANCOLD guidelines.
However the complexity of determining the various parameters that make up each Consequence Category means that only experienced dam engineering professionals should interpret and use these Guidelines when making decisions that could impact on community safety, community cost and services, infrastructure, natural environment, heritage, and the owner’s and other businesses.Learn more
Guidelines for Dam Instrumentation and Monitoring Systems (1983)Learn more
As this current guideline contains useful information, the ANCOLD Executive decided to reprint a small quantity which are now available for purchase.
The Watching Brief Guidelines for Dam Instrumentation and Monitoring Systems (1983), established following the Dam Instrumentation Workshop in Sydney, continues to scan for information and topical developments related to the monitoring of dams using a range of instrumentation techniques. A position paper outlining the current status for the Executive is planned for 2013 and will provide a mechanism to move forward on the need for an updated guideline.
Members wishing to contribute papers, views, or information to the watching brief should contact Chris Topham via the ANCOLD secretariat [email protected]ancold.org.auLearn more
ANCOLD Guidelines on Risk Assessment (July 2022)Learn more
Please note only available in hardcopy format.
The ANCOLD Guidelines on Risk Assessment were published in 2003. They have served the Australian dam community very well and are referenced internationally. Risk assessment is now the principal approach to manage engineering risks at water dams and now a developing practice for tailings dams.
These new guidelines on risk assessment replace the 2003 publication. They include updates to several sections taking account of developments in risk analysis methods and risk evaluation, from experience in applying those guidelines. As for ANCOLD (2003), these guidelines are directed to the practical application of risk assessment, as an aid to better dam safety management. Risk management is the end objective – risk assessment is a means to that end.
These guidelines have been produced by a Working Group of six members, all with significant experience with risk assessments for dams. A Reference Committee of sixteen members has been engaged throughout the development of the Guidelines.
The Working Group and Reference Committee include representatives of dam owners, consultants, universities, and regulators of dam safety. Six Australian states and the ACT were represented. Members and associates of ANCOLD have also provided input through risk workshops held with annual conferences.
Dam owners, decision-makers and analysts need to consider the current state of development of risk assessment in deciding how best to use and apply the process in reaching decisions on dam safety, having regard to their specific overall business risk management needs, and their community and legal responsibilities.
These guidelines also require consideration by dam safety regulators, who need to decide what part risk assessment can play in the discharge of their responsibilities. Deciding on the tolerability of risk is one of the functions of regulators.
ANCOLD continues to believe that the use and further development of risk assessment using studies of the traditional engineering standards-based approach as an input, as proposed in these guidelines, offers the potential for significantly improved dam safety management.
Risk assessment methods are continuously developing. ANCOLD recognizes that detailed aspects of these guidelines will be overtaken by developments within a few years and urges practitioners to keep abreast of new knowledge. Nevertheless, the framework and generic guidelines in this publication are essentially as detailed in ANCOLD (2003) and are expected to remain valid for many years.Learn more
Guidelines on Selection of Acceptable Flood Capacity for Dams (2000)Learn more
The application of risk assessment involves a major philosophical addition to, and enhancement of the deterministic standards developed over many years for appropriate safety of dams. These guidelines are issued to provide more appropriate and consistent guidance within a risk process, for dam safety evaluation under floods. In applying them, it must be remembered that they are guidelines only to what is considered current acceptable practice and allow owners and practitioners flexibility to exercise professional judgment in all aspects. Indeed, without the application of such judgment, the procedures themselves could lead to results that have serious shortcomings.
This is a rapidly developing area with ongoing research in many related aspects. In view of this ANCOLD will review the guidelines periodically and, to that end, seek comments from users at every opportunity.Learn more