Construction of the Lake Buffalo Dam was completed in 1965. It was to be a temporary dam, required to operate for several years, then act as a cofferdam for the construction of a much larger dam downstream. This larger dam was never built and a risk assessment completed by Goulburn Murray Water (G-MW) in 2001 identified several dam safety deficiencies at Lake Buffalo were among the highest priorities for risk reduction measures across the G-MW dams portfolio. Specifically it identified Lake Buffalo as having inadequate flood capacity and there were also concerns about transverse cracking within the embankment.

This paper describes the detailed investigation and analysis of the embankment cracking including assessing the potential for piping through an embankment having deficient filters and known transverse cracking. The design features of the upgrade are also described including the design of the a filter buttress, a parapet wall raise, Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) modelling and spillway anchoring. Construction was completed in 2003.

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