2023 – Design Criteria for Hydraulic Structures on Soil Foundations

Sean Ladiges, Dr Mark Locke, Dr Mark Foster

Australia has a growing number of aging river assets which are critical for river management and there is a significant number of new weir, fishway and environmental regulator structures planned for construction in the Murray-Darling Basin and Queensland. Most of these structures are founded on alluvial soils.

Currently there are no ANCOLD design guidelines for the foundation and stability design of hydraulic structures founded on soil. Practitioners often apply design criteria based on ANCOLD (2013) Design Criteria for Concrete Gravity Dams, which have been developed for structures founded on rock. There are a number of important differences which need to be considered when designing structures which are founded on soil. The paper draws on the authors’ experience with evaluation and design of these types of structures in Australia.

The focus of this paper is on the specific issue of deterministic design criteria for stability, settlement and seepage cut-off design for concrete hydraulic structures founded in soils.

This paper compares a number of relevant Australian and international publications, and in lieu of an ANCOLD guideline, proposes a set of design criteria and considerations that are consistent with the Australian dams industry context.

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