Western Australia Chapter

An improved methodology for the determination of design groundwater levels for civil construction projects

IAH logoPresented by AGS WA with the International Association of Hydrogeologists


Dr. Anastasia Boronina & Russell A. Clayton


Design Groundwater Levels or “reasonable maximum” groundwater levels are required for the design of civil structures, such as pavements and baths structures and detention basins. In particular, the groundwater levels will impact the height of the finished pavement levels or bath structures when the pavement is required to be lowered below the ground water. In some instances the granular or asphalt pavement structure may need to change to a moisture tolerant concrete pavement. As a concrete pavement is considerably more expensive the length needs to be optimised to keep the cost of the pavement down.

Several methods, such as numerical models or annual average maximum ground water level are currently used in Western Australia for determination of Design Groundwater Levels. However, preliminary studies for the Gateway WA project indicated that the existing methods may not be applicable, as they are not always verifiable or sufficiently accurate for the risks involved in road design, construction and long term performance.

A new methodology for determination of DGWL was developed during the course of Gateway WA project and was successfully applied. The same approach was developed later for a preliminary design of Perth-Darwin National Highway.

The proposed methodology is based on hydrogeology concepts and incorporates various types of data (e.g. water levels in open drains or monitoring boreholes) that are collected through all the stages of a construction project.

The presentation explains the proposed methodology and illustrates it with applications to the Gateway WA and Perth-Darwin National Highway projects undertaken by Main Roads Western Australia.

Dr. Anastasia Boronina

Anastasia graduated from the Mining Institute of St-Petersburg (Russia) in 1996 and, for the first 4 years of her career, she developed numerous groundwater models for mine dewatering and environmental impact assessments in Russia. From 2000 to 2006, Anastasia conducted PhD and postdoctorate research in hydrogeology of semi-arid areas in Cyprus and Africa. After moving to UK in 2006 and then in Australia in 2008, Anastasia worked as a groundwater consultant on a wide range of mining and construction-related projects in Australia, Africa, Russia, Kazakhstan and Mongolia.

Anastasia has an expertise in numerical groundwater modelling using all commercially available computer codes and she has been leading groundwater modelling projects over the last 5 years in SRK and GHD in Western Australia. Presently Anastasia continues her groundwater consultancy work as independent hydrogeologist and, since 2013, she is lecturing and supervising students in Curtin University and University of Western Australia on the subjects of Hydrogeology and Mining Hydrogeology.

Russell A. Clayton

Russell is a Geotechnical and Pavements Engineer with GHD consulting engineers with over 30 years of experience in geotechnical engineering, road construction as well as road and rail rehabilitation projects. He has consulted in Canada, Africa and Australia, Philippines and the Middle East. Prior to immigrating to Australia he was a Director of a Consulting Firm and Geotechnical group.

Now as the Service Line Leader of Pavement Engineering in GHD, Russell has been a team member or Geotechnical Manager on a number of major road alliances and rail projects in Western Australia. He has also fulfilled this role on a number of airfield upgrades and reconstructions, both locally and offshore. His passion for materials engineering has led to the successful implementation of a number of innovations on these projects and has been awarded by the Client for his innovation. He was awarded a grant by AAPA to attend a study tour to the USA to study perpetual pavements, the use of recycled asphalt pavements (RAP) and warm asphalt techniques and more recently was sponsored by AAPA to conduct a review of Eastern States best practice with Main Roads WA.

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