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Michael Bassett-Foss , David Bouma , Dewi Knappstein
The Wairarapa Water Use Project (WWUP) in the southern North Island, New Zealand, is investigating new water storage schemes involving large dams that will allow the community to make use of the water resources that are currently available, but not necessarily available at the time they are needed. It is estimated that the 12,000 hectares currently irrigated in the Wairarapa could be increased to about 42,000 hectares depending on actual demand. The WWUP provides for a range of possible needs, such as supply of new areas of irrigation, increased reliability for existing irrigation and frost fighting, environmental augmentation of low summer river flows, environmental flushing flows, stock drinking water, power generation, municipal water supply, and recreational use.Learn more
WWUP objectives include early engagement of stakeholders, early integration of financial, social, cultural and environmental factors in decision-making, management of uncertainty associated with the preliminary level of investigation and evolving regulatory framework, development of an equitable framework for efficiently comparing options, and balancing long and short-term considerations.
A large number of dam options were identified, storing 3 to 80 million m3 of water, and progressively narrowed to a shortlist of 2 sites through a complex process of concept development, desktop studies, site visits, hydrological analyses, cost estimates and multi-criteria analyses.
The WWUP demonstrates how sustainable new major water storage schemes can be promoted in a highly regulated environment of a developed nation.
Keywords: Dams, water storage, stakeholder engagement, environment, water allocation, multi-criteria analysis
This paper discusses the common environmental issues and requirements project lenders have when financing hydropower dam projects in developing countries. The environmental specialist’s role, as part of the Lender’s Technical Advisor team, is discussed throughout the main phases of project finance (credit approval, financial close, lending/construction and loan repayment/operation). Further, how environmental issues are reviewed and monitored, thereby minimising reputational risks to the lenders are outlined.Learn more
Lenders typically consider hydropower dam financing, especially reservoir schemes, as high reputational risk loans. Finance is usually syndicated and although most international lenders are Equator Principles signatories or use the International Financing Corporations (IFC) Performance Standards, some lenders have additional environmental guidelines and requirements to enable financing. These differences are discussed.
Common environmental concerns include loss of habitat of endangered and/or threatened species, changes to river flows, erosion and sediment control during construction, and the minimisation and disposal of project wastes.
These issues are discussed drawing on the author’s experience in monitoring environmental issues of hydropower projects in Asia Pacific and Africa, including both smaller run-of-river schemes and larger storage reservoir projects.
Keywords: Environment, impacts, project financing, concerns, lenders, lenders technical advisor.
This document has been prepared as a companion to the 2001 ANCOLD Guidelines on the Environmental Management of Dams. Since the 2001 guidelines were published much has been learnt about the critical issues that drive environmental concerns for both dam practitioners and the broader community arising from the construction of new dams, dam upgrades or altered operational strategies. The objective of this companion volume to the 2001 Environmental Guideline is to increase environmental awareness by encouraging more sustainable planning, design, construction and operation inputs to large dams. As such this companion volume complements rather than replaces the existing 2001 guideline. This companion volume focuses on:
Describing the complex Commonwealth and individual State regulatory environments that must be dealt with in all dam projects;
Discussing key issues surrounding the practices for effective stakeholder and community consultation;
Considering risk assessment for environmental matters associated directly with construction and operation, as well as the broader and more complex regulatory concerns of cumulative and consequential impacts; and
Providing a series of technical Practice Notes on a range of environmental issues that dam owners/ operators need to be aware of in all dam projects
A series of Practice Notes has been presented in Part B setting out a brief overview of current knowledge on a range of technical and operational matters of interest to dam owners/operators. These are not exhaustive reviews of current knowledge but rather serve to raise a level of awareness on a range of issues that need to be considered at the various stages of planning, constructing, operating and decommissioning a storage with respect to environmental concerns.
The 2014 Guidelines are intended to be regularly updated to reflect the changing regulatory environment as well as increasing technical knowledge about environmental management.
The two guidelines should be regarded as companion volumes for reference, with the 2014 Guidelines providing a targeted and practical environmental perspective.
The Technical Working Group set out to make these Guidelines simple and straightforward, avoiding scientific and technical jargon so as to appeal to the broader audience it targets. I take this opportunity to thank the members of the working group for their efforts in bringing this document to fruition.
The Guidelines are not a ‘rule book’ but rather a document to raise awareness of significant environmental matters to be considered by all dam owners/operators. ANCOLD welcomes comments on these Guidelines for inclusion in future editions.Learn more
Russell Paton, Peter MacTaggart, Lee Benson
The Nathan Dam project has been identified by the State Government of Queensland as a potential water supply option to facilitate future growth in central Queensland. The proposed storage is located approximately 69 km downstream of the township of Taroom and would have a storage capacity of 1,080,000 ML which would make it Queensland’s fourth largest storage.
The proposed dam arrangement includes a central concrete gated spillway section across the river in order to maximise the storage volume and limit the flood rise upstream such that flood levels at Taroom are not increased during major flood events. A high level fixed crest spillway, to assist in the passage of rare flood events, forms the right abutment portion of the dam wall. It is proposed that the bulk of the concrete sections of the dam be constructed using roller compacted concrete (RCC).
The investigations to progress Nathan Dam are complicated by the existence of the Boggomoss Snail (Adclarkia dawsonensis) within the proposed inundation area. The snail is listed as a critically endangered species under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (EPBC Act), and a proportion of the snail’s known population is located on a Boggomoss (the colloquial name for an artesian spring) that will be inundated should the project proceed.
SunWater has engaged Australia’s foremost expert on land snails to design a translocation process aimed at relocating the species to alternative habitat outside the inundation area. The process will seek to not only protect the snail from the dam development, but to increase both its numbers and distribution thereby reducing risks to the currently isolated population from threats such as fire and predation. It is the first time in Australia that such a trial has been attempted, and SunWater is working closely with the Federal Department of Environment, Water, Heritage and the Arts (DEWHA) to ensure that the process is consistent with their policies and guidelines.
The paper will discuss the engineering and environmental challenges of the dam and how the Environmental Impact Study process can influence the delivery of a project.
Keywords: Nathan Dam, Environment, EngineeringLearn more
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.