Advanced Water Engineering field trip to Manly Dam


70 students with academics, researchers and PhD students from the Water Research Centre and WRL enjoyed the sunshine and the beautiful surrounds of Manly Dam and WRL for the 2017 Advanced Water Engineering (CVEN4507) field trip last week.
The field trip was designed to allow the course lecturers Dr Fiona Johnson and Dr Stefan Felder to connect some of the basic hydrology and hydraulic concepts of CVEN4507 with real world examples.
In particular the field trip was designed to show students methods used to collect hydrologic and hydraulic data in the field. Students were split into four groups and circulated around four stations at Manly Dam and WRL.
Manly Dam has been the focus of the assignments in the course and students were given the chance to relate their desktop assessments of the catchment hydrology to the reality of the catchment.
During lectures, satellite remote sensing of soil moisture and the large spatial scale of such measurements have been discussed, which contrasted to the variability of surface soil moisture measured by the students within the picnic area of the dam.
The second course assignment asks students to consider the hydraulic behaviour of the dam spillway and its downstream energy dissipation structure. During the field trip students had to estimate the dimensions of the dam wall, its crest shape and spillway slope using only a measuring tape, and their engineering judgement. Based upon the visual inspection, students were able to critically assess the hydraulic behaviour of the dam including the spillway and the downstream structures.
At the first WRL station, students looked at methods to assess groundwater including water depth, sampling and analysis. Students examined the variation of the water properties with depth and compared the water quality to the adjacent water in Manly Creek. This allowed students to understand some of the possible errors in data collection methods.
The final activity showed students a flow gauging weir of Manly Creek which monitors the environmental flows downstream of Manly Dam.
Students were also inducted to basic surveying of a creek cross-section and estimation of the flow rate using a field Acoustic Doppler Velocimeter combined with a survey of the creek profile. As part of this station students were also shown a 1 in 5 scale physical model of a fishway of a large dam that is designed to allow fish to migrate between up- and downstream of the dam wall.