2016 – Comparing CRCFORGE Estimates and the New Rare Design Rainfalls

J.H.Green, C.Beesley, C.The, S.Podgerand, A.Frost

The ability to estimate design rainfalls for probabilities rarer than 100 years or 1% Annual Exceedance Probability (AEP) is an essential part of dam hydrology. The earliest means of estimating rare events consisted of a pragmatic curve fitting procedure between the 50 and 100 year design rainfalls and the Probable Maximum Precipitation. In the 1990s a more rigorous method of estimating design rainfalls as rare as 2000 years was developed – the Cooperative Research Centre – FOcussed Rainfall Growth Estimation (CRC-FORGE) method. CRC-FORGE estimates were derived for Victoria in 1997 followed progressively by each of the other states. Over the subsequent two decades CRC-FORGE estimates were an integral part of the risk assessment of large dams – being used to determine the AEP of the Dam Crest Flood.

The Bureau of Meteorology will soon release new rare design rainfall estimates for probabilities to 2000 years. The new rare design rainfalls are a significant improvement on the CRC-FORGE estimates as they have been derived using up to date data; contemporary analytical techniques and a method that is consistent across Australia.

However, there are differences between the CRC-FORGE estimates and the new rare design rainfalls. These differences do not constitute a systematic change to the CRC-FORGE estimates but rather vary with location; duration and probability. The results of a detailed comparison between the CRC-FORGE estimates and the new rare design rainfalls are presented together will an assessment of the possible impacts on previous estimates of the AEP of the Dam Crest Flood.

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