Geotechnical Aspects of Millbrook Dam

Peter Russell and Dr Ahmed Soliman

The South Australian Water Corporation maintains and operates 16 large dams and one flood control dam. About half of these dams are more than 85 years old. SA Water has a dam safety upgrade program in place to bring its dam portfolio up to modern standards and guidelines, where required. Rehabilitation works under this program have already been completed for Hope Valley and Happy Valley Dams. Work on Millbrook Dam is currently underway.

In the recent past numerical modelling has been recognised as a powerful tool for efficient analysis and economical design in civil engineering projects. SA Water has carried out numerical modelling, using the nonlinear stress analysis program FLAG, to model large deformations that occurred during construction of Millbrook Dam (i.e. modelling the past). The 88 year old dam consists of a clay puddle core, with earthfill upstream and downstream shoulders (I.e. a zoned dam). It is located north-east of the city of Adelaide; most of the water taken into the reservoir comes from the River Torrens via a tunnel from the Gumeracha Weir.

Construction of the dam began in 1914 and was completed in 1918. During the final stage of construction, the dam experienced significant bulging in the downstream and upstream shoulders associated with large verticalsettlement of the dam. At this stage of construction, a surveillance survey of the dam was commenced and continued until 1930.

The history of construction of the dam, construction events and results of the numerical modelling will be presented and discussed.

About the speakers

Peter Russell Senior Engineer, Dams, SA Water Corporation

Peter currently holds the position of Senior Engineer Dams in the Engineering Group of SA Water. He joined SA Water’s predecessor, The Engineering &Water Supply Department, in 1967 on graduating from the University of Adelaide. His professional experience to 1972 included the structural design and construction of infrastructure for water supply projects. For the next 23 years, in another Government department, he was involved with the structural design and construction of major public buildings. For the past 11 years, Peter has worked inthe area of dam safety, principally in the management of safety investigations required for SA Water’s dam safety improvement program.

Dr Ahmed Soliman Principal Geotechnical Engineer, SA Water Corporation

Ahmed is currently the Principal Geotechnical Engineer of SA Water Corporation. He holdsa PhD, M.Sc., Post/Grad Dip., B.Sc. in applied geology and geotechnical engineering. Ahmed spent 6 years in Western Australia working with a number of geotechnical engineering firms. In 1998, he moved to Victoria to work intheminingindustry. In 2002, he joined Transport SA in thefield of geotechnical engineering. Priorto moving to Australia, he worked with the University of Alexandria, Egypt, and a number of consultancy firms in the structural and geotechnical engineering fields.

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