Our findings helped our client refine the assessment process and highlighted the way forward
Owned and operated by Sunwater, a state-owned water provider in Queensland, Australia, the Burdekin Falls Dam is a critical infrastructure feature in the region. Built primarily for irrigation, the dam also helps replenish local aquifers and supports recreational activities and businesses. With increasing demands for water, Sunwater wanted to investigate increasing the dam’s acceptable flood capacity—so, they called upon our expertise.
The dam was designed with an uncontrolled spillway, so raising the reservoir’s flood capacity means raising the upper level of the spillway. We began with a preliminary design containing enough detail for the project to move into the detailed design phase. Our work also included dam improvement design, constructability studies, engineering reviews, computational fluid dynamic modelling, regular workshops with Sunwater and the Queensland dam safety regulator, and the development of a cost estimate and schedule. As with any dam project, a vital consideration is risk. In this case structural integrity, as the frequency and duration of spill events over the main dam—which currently occur approximately 30 per cent of the time—is the most important consideration.
After completing the concept engineering phase, we are now working with the client to help determine more precisely how much they might expand the reservoir’s potential flood capacity.
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