CONSTRUCTION WORK IS nearing completion on the restoration of storage capacity at Lyell dam, near Lithgow, west of Sydney in Australia.

A 50m high CFRD, Lyell dam was constructed in 1983 to supply cooling water from Mt Piper and Wallerawang power stations. In 1994, the storage capacity was increased by 7.5M m3 with two 3.5m high, 40m long inflatable rubber dams on an enlarged spillway sill.

Two failures of the rubber dams (in 1997 and 1999) led the dam owner, Delta Electricity, to seek an alternative to maintaining the raised full supply level, whilst passing the design flood. After a careful evaluation process, hydroplus Australia was awarded a design and construct contract in April 2001 to restore the storage capacity of the dam using the Hydroplus fusegate system, with consulting firm, Sinclair Knight Merz, providing engineering services.

This is the first time the technology has been employed on a dam in Australia. Following a six-month design period, which also involved the completion of an environmental review and obtaining the required statutory approvals, construction commenced in October 2001.