2013 – Design considerations in the continuous concrete buttressing of existing concrete gravity dams

Nicole Anderson and Nihal Vitharana

A large number of aging concrete dams in Australia may not meet the requirements of modern dam safety practices. In addition, there is an ever-increasing demand for the supply of water. Continuous concrete buttressing is a method of strengthening existing dams which allows the dam to be raised to augment the storage capacity at an incremental cost.
This paper explores the key design considerations involved in concrete-buttressing existing concrete gravity dams. Critical aspects considered include storage level during construction, interface drainage, interface shear transfer, the relative strength of existing and new concrete and the behaviour during the heating and cooling phases of the heat-of-hydration. The discussions will be of relevance to asset owners and water authorities faced with upgrading existing dams in a time where there is an increasing demand for security of supply of water resources.

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