Dam planning, feasibility and design

Creating new dam infrastructure and upgrading existing dams require large investments of resources and carry significant risk, so they’re important to get right.

Any dam project begins with identifying water-related needs and opportunities, and ways these can be met. To select the best solution, many relationships and criteria must be assessed: engineering, economic, hydrologic, environmental and social.

So that you can make informed decisions about a dam project’s viability, we ensure that all the options have been thoroughly studied and the solutions have been appropriately refined.

Designing and constructing safe, efficient, cost-effective and long lasting dams that comply with all the relevant regulations and standards, and that minimise impacts on the environment and communities, calls for a special combination of technical expertise, risk management and innovative problem-solving. We have what is needed to get things right through every stage of the dam development process – from the very start to the very end.

The need for dam upgrades is increasing around the world as assets age, as dam operation and water usage vary, and as new developments emerge in design standards, risk identification and environmental requirements. We combine expertise in all areas of engineering to improve the safety and reliability of the structural, mechanical and electrical components of existing dam developments. These improvements increase the performance and the life of the asset, as well as decreasing risks such as dam failure.

We have undertaken detailed design for many of Australia’s key new dam projects over the last decade, as well as many dam projects in the Indo-Pacific region. We have also contributed our experience in investigation, preliminary and detailed design and construction support to successfully undertake major dam upgrades.

We can deliver dam designs as a stand-alone design package, with a design and construct contract, or within an alliance.

Our services include:

  • project planning, feasibility studies and project optimisation
  • site surveys, geotechnical and geological appraisal
  • hydrological modelling, flood frequency and yield estimation and analysis
  • hydraulic modelling using both physical models and numerical methods such as computation fluid dynamic (CFD) modelling, of spillways and outlet works
  • design of dams and related structures, including two and three dimensional finite element modelling
  • environmental studies, including impact assessments and management plans
  • statutory approval assessments with the dam safety regulator and other regulatory bodies
  • dam safety risk and safety in design assessments for construction and operation
  • cost estimation, construction specifications, drawings and contract documentation
  • owner’s engineer, expert peer review and project management support.