US$11 million dam safety upgrade in NSW, Australia

A US$11 million Ajenti Data Management System developed by Entura, part of the Hydro Tasmania Group, is in place as a safety upgrade to Lake Endeavour Dam in Parkes Shire, New South Wales, Australia. It included upgrades to the dam wall and spillway, and implementation of an early warning system (EWS) for downstream residents and emergency services.

Hydro Tasmania is Australia’s largest water manager and renewable energy producer. Entura provides real-time inflow, flood forecasting and data management solutions, which helps manage Hydro Tasmania’s catchments and systems that includes 55 major dams.

“The early warning system upgrade will provide real-time monitoring of conditions that could result in water overtopping the Lake Endeavour Dam,” said Andrew Francis, infrastructure director for Parkes Shire Council.

“It’s an essential part of our dam safety management strategy, and will allow us to provide alerts to the State Emergency Service and protect downstream residents if we experience those extreme conditions.”

The EWS combines actual dam water levels, from two locations in the catchment area, with data from the Bureau of Meteorology. Ajenti manages data collected from the dam.

“An effective flood forecasting system is a vital tool for managing the significant risks that floods pose to communities, infrastructure and the environment,” said Dr. Fiona Ling, Entura’s principal consultant in hydrology, resource management and investigations.

“If you can clearly understand the likelihood and scale of potential flooding and get accurate and timely warnings, you can better manage water infrastructure and implement safety plans in time to protect assets and communities at risk.”

Ajenti allows real-time observations to be combined with rainfall forecasts, using modelling to determine the likely inflows to the dam and related changes in water level over a seven-day forecast period.

“Council staff can monitor the system via a simple interface,” Ling said, “but the system is designed to be ‘set and forget.’ If water levels are likely to reach a pre-determined level, the system automatically alerts Council staff so they can manage the risk of flood.”

External stakeholders can monitor some of the same key parameters as the EWS via Parkes Shire Council’s website.
 

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Gregory B. Poindexter formerly was an associate editor for HydroWorld.com.

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