2023 – Sunwater Rocklea Hydraulics Laboratory Upgrade – Hydraulic Testing Flume

Paul Roebuck, Peter Lewis

Sunwater is currently expanding its Rocklea Hydraulics Laboratory to assist with the delivery of the next generation of water infrastructure projects. The scale of projects like the Paradise Dam Improvement Project and Burdekin Falls Dam Improvement and Raising Projects have unique modelling requirements that cannot currently be met through other facilities.
The laboratory provides the capability of physical modelling of a range of hydraulic structures including dams, weirs, and intakes. The physical hydraulic models enable verification and optimisation of engineering design and improve the resilience, effectiveness, and constructability of dam projects. The upgraded facility provides dam owners across Australia and internationally access to industry-leading hydraulic modelling services.

The first phase of the laboratory upgrade is the construction of a large testing flume. The new high-flow flume is one of the largest in the world and provides services to Sunwater, other dam owners and consultants on a commercial basis.

The first projects for the flume are modelling spillway upgrades for the Burdekin Falls and Paradise Dam Improvement projects. The flume was recently constructed and commissioned, and the first hydraulic model is in the process of being installed for testing.

The new testing flume is part of a much larger expansion proposed, that will increase the permanent hydraulic throughput to 5.2 cumecs. There are currently no facilities of this scale in Australia. The construction of the flume provides the necessary hydraulic modelling capability for the large program of dam upgrades and new dam builds in Australia over the next decade, particularly in Queensland. The facility will allow larger-scale hydraulic models to be tested, resulting in improved accuracy of results and superior design and project outcomes.

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