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Peter Buchanan, Damian Nott, Martin Weir and John Dymke
The Bulk Water Alliance (BWA) consisting of ACTEW and ACTEW-AGL, GHD, and JohnLearn more
Holland/Abigroup, was formed to deliver the Enlarged Cotter Dam project in Canberra,
ACT. This project consisted of the construction of an 87 m high RCC dam and two
saddle dams, 15 m and 20 m high, to provide additional capacity to the ACT‘s water
supply system. The project is scheduled to be completed in September 2013.
During construction, the dam site was subject to three significant flood events which
affected the construction program. The March 2012 flood, the largest of the three, also
indirectly caused the formation of longitudinal cracks at the top surface of the RCC, when
the dam had reached about 45 m in height.
This paper first looks at the consequence of the flooding on both the design and
construction of the dam; in particular the modification of the diversion strategy and the
impacts on the final dam arrangement. The risk mitigation strategies put in place,
including the construction of a significantly larger diversion conduit through the partially
completed dam, are also discussed. The paper then focusses on the formation of
longitudinal cracks in the dam; the cause of cracking, analysis of the likely extent of
cracking, and the treatment of the cracks to minimise the risk of any significant long-term
impacts on the safety of the dam.
Finally the paper will discuss lessons learned from constructing the Enlarged Cotter Dam
during a period of above average rainfall.
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.