1998 – Risk Assessment for Hume Dam – Lessons from Estimating the Chance of Failure

Leonard A McDonald and Chi Fai Wan

A risk assessment has been undertaken as part of a comprehensive review of the safety of Hume Dam. Use of risk assessment techniques, to assist in evaluating the safety of existing dams, is a relatively recent trend. Hume Dam was a particularly challenging subject for the application of risk assessment techniques at their present stage of development. The challenge lay in the number and diversity of dam elements to be analysed, in the number and complexity of the potential failure modes and in the fact that there were significant safety issues under normal operating conditions.

This paper outlines some of the key lessons learned from that phase of the risk assessment that was concerned with estimating the chance of dam failure. Some of the issues discussed have not previously been addressed in the literature and some demonstrate a clear need for improved analysis procedures.

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