Robert Keogh RPEQ, CE Civil (Hon), Mal Halwala, Peter Boettcher, Renee Butterfield
SunWater is a Government Owned Corporation (GOC), operating in a competitive market on an equal commercial footing with the private sector. SunWater owns 23 referable dams. Over the last fifty years there has been significant development of the methodologies used to estimate extreme rainfall events. These have resulted in substantial increases in probable maximum flood (PMF) estimates for most of SunWater’s dams.
SunWater has undertaken a Comprehensive Risk Assessment program across its portfolio. SunWater now has a good understanding of the deficiencies and available risk reduction options for each dam under all load conditions. The total cost to rectify all deficiencies is several hundred million dollars and well beyond the financial capacity of the organisation in the short term.
ANCOLD and Regulators have different published opinions on decision making criteria for dam safety upgrades. Once the conditions for the tolerability of Societal and Individual Risk are satisfied the onus remains with the dam owner to meet the ALARP principle. The decision making process is complicated by uncertainties in inputs to risk assessments. The authors have considered these uncertainties as well as the legal implications, differing ANCOLD and Regulator requirements, and business and economic loss, in formulating the decision making process. The methodology is simplified but effective. If the process is followed the dam owner’s investments will meet ANCOLD, Regulatory, legal and business requirements.
This Paper details a logical decision making process designed to allow a non technical Board to balance social, legal and financial objectives. The process considers overall risk, tolerability, the ALARP principle, and project prioritisation. The process is being used by SunWater to determine the Acceptable Flood Capacity of each dam, which dams will be upgraded, priorities and scheduling of each upgrade.
How SunWater, as a commercial dam owner makes investment decisions for dam safety upgrades
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David R Jeffery
In 2004 the Victorian Government announced the decision to proceed with Australia’s largest dam decommissioning project, the return of the 365,000ML capacity Lake Mokoan to a wetland.
The project has been completed and has resulted in significant river health benefits through liberating environmental flows in the Broken, Goulburn, Murray and Snowy Rivers. Decommissioning has allowed the recovery of water savings for return as environmental flow to the River Murray (30,000 ML/year) and Snowy River (21,000 ML/year).
With decommissioning complete, development of a significant wetland complex across the 8100 hectare site has commenced.
This project has been undertaken at a time when the Broken River basin was exposed to its worst drought conditions in over 100 years and within 11 years of the worst flooding experienced in the nearby Rural City of Benalla. These extremes of climatic conditions and their impacts on the local and irrigation communities have ensured considerable community and stakeholder interest in the decision to proceed with decommissioning and in the subsequent delivery of each of the project elements.
This paper provides an explanation of the drivers for the project, describes the process followed and some of the challenges experienced over the projects seven year life and presents some of the lessons learned along the way.
2011 – MOKOAN – RETURN TO WETLAND PROJECT
Dan Forster, Murray Gillon
A robust and defensible dam surveillance process is considered to be the ‘front-line of defence’ in ensuring dams do not present an unacceptable risk to people, property and the environment. The concept of a ‘Quality Chain of Dam Surveillance’ describes the surveillance process as a multi-linked chain where each step in the process forms a critical link. Without rigorous attention given to quality assurance links in the chain can become tenuous or broken and thus compromise the integrity of the whole chain. Hydro Tasmania is currently re-engineering its existing surveillance process using the Quality Chain of Dam Surveillance as a basis.
This paper presents the concept of the quality chain and uses the Hydro Tasmania improvement initiative as an example application of the concept. The paper is intended to provide a fresh perspective on what is sometimes considered a stale topic and reinforces the need for a considered approach to dam surveillance.
2011 – The Quality Chain of Dam Surveillance
Susan Ryanand Siraj Perera
This paper describes the benefits of the statewide risk reporting framework used in dam safety regulation in Victoria and its ongoing development. Key to this approach is a web-hosted reporting system and benchmarking process, established by the Department of Sustainability and Environment in collaboration with the Victorian water industry. This is the first time that such an approach has been used in Australia for publicly owned dams.
Sector-wide reporting on dam safety is central to the objective-based approach used by the Department in the governance and regulation of the water industry. Water corporations submit detailed annual reports on dam safety status. This incorporates ‘self assessment’ against performance criteria based on ANCOLD risk and dam safety management guidelines. These are collated to produce a statewide report of industry-wide results on the progress of dam safety management programs. This benchmarking process is providing a driver for on-going improvement and proving to be an effective tool for regulation of publicly owned dams.
The reporting framework has significantly advanced the understanding of dam safety risk across the water sector, with outputs easily understood by both dam safety practitioners and decision makers. It has improved monitoring and trend analysis of risk management practices, and is informing policy development on demonstration of the ALARP principle and decision-making about appropriate long-term dam safety levels.
Amanda Ament, Jon Williams, Malcolm Barker
Aplins Weir is located on the Ross River in Townsville, downstream from the Ross River Dam. Previous work had identified Aplins Weir as exhibiting factors of safety below 1.0 under normal operating conditions, with over 1000 persons at risk today in the event of failure. Originally constructed in the early 1920s, Aplins Weir has been upgraded and repaired following various failures on a number of occasions. The end result is a complex reinforced concrete and steel sheet pile composite structure reliant for stability on a number of unreliable components. This paper presents the historical data describing the current configuration of the weir, and the analyses required to evaluate the extisting structure, leading to the design of the proposed upgrade works. The final design involves a retrofit of large diameter cast-in-place lined piles and a heavily reinforced base overlay slab designed to completely bypass all existing vulnerable substructure elements.
2011 – Where is our Weir going – an Unusual Upgrade!
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.