Entura delivers flood forecasting system to Parkes Shire Council

December 16, 2015

A clever data management system developed by specialist power and water consulting firm Entura is helping to ensure the safety of a major dam in the New South Wales shire of Parkes.

An $11 million safety upgrade of the district’s main dam at Lake Endeavour has just been completed. It included upgrades to the dam wall and spillway, and implementation of an early warning system (EWS) for downstream residents and emergency services.

“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 – Director of Infrastructure 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. The data collected from the dam is managed by Entura’s Ajenti Data Management System.

“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, 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.”

The EWS complements the broader dam upgrade program, which has enhanced the ability of the Endeavour Dam to withstand large flood events. Members of the community and other stakeholders can monitor the key parameters monitored by the EWS at any time via the page on the Parkes Shire Council website.

Flood forecasting is a critical part of managing dam risk and public safety risks across a dam portfolio. As part of Hydro Tasmania, Australia’s largest water manager and renewable energy producer, Entura provides real-time inflow and flood forecasting and data management solutions to help manage Hydro Tasmania’s own extensive catchments and a complex system including 55 major dams.

“Entura has built on its experience in dam safety to offer flood forecasting expertise to a range of clients throughout the Asia-Pacific region for other important applications, such as providing the advanced flood warnings needed to protect assets and communities at risk, whether in regional areas like Parkes or a large metropolis such as Kuala Lumpur,” said Dr Ling.