1999 – Warragamba Dam Auxiliary Spillway Design

S. Knight, B. Cooper and P. van Breda

Warragamba Dam was completed in 1960 and impounds Sydney’s main water supply storage. Hydrological studies in the 1980’s showed the existing spillway to be significantly undersized by modern standards. Considering the dam’s High Incremental Flood Hazard category, the current risk of dambreak is unacceptably high. This has resulted in a two-stage program to upgrade the dam to full Probable Maximum Flood (PMF) capability.

The interim (first stage) measures were completed in 1990 and involved a 5.1 metre raising of the dam crest and significant post-tensioning of the dam wall. Following many feasibility/option studies and detailed technical and environmental studies, a contract was let by Sydney Water Corporation (SWC) in late 1998 for the construction of an auxiliary spillway as the major (second stage) component of the flood security upgrading. The spillway will be a large capacity (about 18,000m*/s) concrete lined chute 700 metres long around the dam’s right abutment. In the upper curved section will be the largest fuse plug embankments in Australia (up to 14.5 metres high). The lower straight section will terminate with a flip bucket structure.

The NSW Department of Public Works and Services (DPWS) designed the earlier Interim Works, undertook the subsequent engineering option studies for the Major Works and carried out the concept design and technical specification for the new auxiliary spillway and associated dam modification works. This paper summarises the project, describes the main features of the concept design of the spillway and outlines the associated dam modifications.

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