2011 – Comparing methods for estimating loss of life from dambreak flooding for two Australian dams

Simon Lang, Chriselyn Meneses, Peter Hill, Kristen Sih

In Australia to date, the empirical method developed by Graham (1999) is the most widely applied approach for estimating loss of life from dambreak flooding. However, as the move to risk-based approaches of dam safety management has gathered momentum internationally, increasingly sophisticated techniques for estimating loss of life have emerged. One of these models is the United States Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) HEC-FIA model. HEC-FIA models the influence of flooding, structure characteristics, and warning and evacuation assumptions on loss of life in a spatially distributed manner. In contrast to Graham (1999), HEC-FIA also allows the user to model the loss of life for both dambreak and natural flooding.

This paper presents the results from the first Australian application of HEC-FIA to two dams in southeast Australia. The application of empirical methods developed by Graham (2004) and Reiter (2001) is also discussed.




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