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In recent years the option to decommission water supply dams has had renewed focus due to a number of drivers. These include the increased costs of upgrading aging infrastructure against their provided value, climate change reducing the effectiveness of some dams as a reliable water source, greater value placed on environmental outcomes and changing demands for the water including power in case of Hydropower dams. In addition the recent construction of large coastal desalination plants as an alternate water source for large urban areas, particularly in Australia, has reduced the need for some dam assets.
In response to this changing dynamic in the Industry, ICOLD formed a technical committee in 2007 to prepare a bulletin on dam decommissioning for use by those considering the option of decommissioning a dam. The purpose of the bulletin or guideline was not as a design manual but to provide industry with information and guidance to better understand the key drivers of decommissioning and the issues around decommissioning. It is probably a fair summation of the practice to date, that issues associated with decommissioning of major dams have not always been well understood prior to this option being selected. This has on occasion resulted in dramatic increases in the cost of decommissioning, extended timelines and not least, strong community and other stakeholder resistance. Hence the ICOLD decision to prepare a bulletin. The Author of this paper was a part of this committee and has also been involved with a number of dam decommissionings and assisting regulators in developing their own guidelines.
In this paper the key findings from development of the ICOLD bulletin will be presented including illustration of various key issues via case studies from this region and internationally. In particular, the true cost of decommissioning. The final draft of bulletin is currently under review.Learn more
Keywords: Decommissioning, ICOLD, community, stakeholder, water supply, hydropower, cost.
Shane Papworth, Stuart Richardson, David Dreverman, Mel Jackson
A prominent element of the operational environment of a dam is its interaction with the community.The management of public recreational use of irrigation storages is an increasing challenge for Goulburn-Murray Water and the Murray Darling Basin Authority. The upper Murray storages have been significantly affected by the unprecedented low water resource availability which has caused an increasing conflict between the primary use of the dam to supply irrigation water and the secondary benefit of recreation and tourism use by the local communities. Many difficult management issues (media, community relations, political interest) arise from the local community, rather than just from operation of the dam itself.
An increasing awareness of the dire water resource position in recent years has coincided with an ever increasing appreciation of the environmental and social impacts of recreational use. For the storages along the Murray system, effective management is further complicated by complex agency and authority responsibilities, communities and interest groups effectively ‘in competition’ for the water resource.
To better manage these issues, ‘Land and On-Water Management Plans’ have been developed for Lake Mulwala and Lake Hume. Developing the Plans has not been without controversy, but ultimately the Plans have proved to be a simple and successful means of planning for and achieving agreed land and water management outcomes. This in turn is fostering a positive spirit of cooperation and communication with communities currently under considerable stress as a result of prolonged drought.
This paper describes the process, pitfalls and learnings to come out of the development of the Land and On-Water Management Plans.
Key words: Environment, community, irrigation dams, recreational use, planningLearn more
Cat McConkey, Zarmina Nasir, Rachel Caoil
The Enlarged Cotter Dam (ECD) is the first major project to be assessed and approved under the new planning regime in the Australian Capital Territory (ACT). ACTEW chose the ECD as its highest priority option in securing Canberra’s water supply for the future because of its relative economic benefit to the community, reliability of water supply, technical feasibility and comparatively low environmental impact.Learn more
The planning and construction of large dams has been reduced from a typical 10 plus years to four years in the ACT and surrounds for the ECD. Australian and International Dam design and construction has significantly developed from a time when dam approvals focused on engineering, economics and constructability to now include regulatory planning processes that seek to reconcile environmental, social and economic impacts.
This paper explores and contrasts the experience of securing approvals for the ECD in 2009 to past experiences of dam planning approvals and consultation processes.