2024 Q2 eNews – News from the West

by Michael Smith

Michael Smith

Senior Principal Engineer - Dams & Dam Safety Engineering, Water Corporation of WA

The Summer of 2023/24 has seen Water Corporation undertake two remedial works projects on Dams. These successful projects have been firstly at North Dandalup Dam to investigate and remediate a drainage related sinkhole which formed on a section of the Earthfill Embankment. The second project has been at Logue Brook Dam located near Harvey in the South-West of the State where stability and piping risk issues associated with the saddle dam have been addressed. These two projects have featured in the calendar for the ANCOLD YP’s with a site tour arranged to both (which has been covered in prior e-news). These proved to be excellent learning opportunities for the wider dams engineering community. Since the ANCOLD YP tour, works at North Dandalup Dam have been completed with the reinstatement and remediation of the earthfill embankment. This was a successful project undertaken by JWI Contractors with additional defensive measures included in the structure.

Logue Brook Dam’s Saddle Dam works were of a larger scale and have taken longer to deliver as was expected. As we move into the regular patterns of rain in June in WA, we have seen the filters and embankment weighting works conclude with gravel being placed on the crest of the dam. The tight nature of the site, a long embankment with three distinct valleys and limited space for plant have seen us reach the rainy (hopefully very rainy) season with rains precluding sealing the Embankment’s crest road. However, progress has been excellent by Contractor BCP Kaartdijin led on site by Project Manager Murray Stuart and we look forward to seeing the last finishing works completed in Spring 2024.

Western Australian weather conditions; to once again prove that we live on a very variable continent in Western Australia we have seen the East Kimberly awash with rain seeing the Ord River Dam’s Lake Argyle reach its fourth highest level on record whilst we have seen Irrigation Dams like Glen Mervyn near Collie reach record lows and be essentially empty after a drier winter in 2023 and a hot summer in 2024.

To conclude the West Australian update this newsletter, we would like to republish words from the ANCOLD AGM in 2023, for those who were unable to attend the AGM, regarding the sad passing of the West Australian Dams Engineer Tony Moulds.

Tony Moulds

Tony spent most of his Career working for Water Corporation and its predecessor organisations. He was a regular attendee at ANCOLD.

From 1985-1987 he was the ANCOLD Treasurer. He was co-organiser with Bob Wark for the 1987 ANCOLD trip to New Zealand.  Their crowning achievement among other things was salvage an event in Dunedin for the AGM and Conference dinner where they were informed on their arrival that the venue for the dinner was dry and we would have to sort ourselves out.  On the way Tony stopped the buses and took a team of guys into the local bottle shop armed with an ANCOLD credit card and stocked up for the night.  Tony and Bob acted as wine waiters for the dinner. 

Tony was a member of the working group for the 2003 Dam Safety Guidelines. He also had a passion for engineering heritage and this led to many Engineers Australia Heritage Markers in Western Australia. This passion also influenced many recent projects undertaken in Western Australia and also formed the basis of a draft ICOLD document on heritage and dams. 

His strong interest for water engineering lives on in the family with one of his sons working at Water Corporation as the Technical Lead for Water Treatment.

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