Detection Services is working alongside technology partner Rezatec to provide geospatial artificial intelligence (AI) monitoring solutions for their client Hunter Water and Chichester Dam.
Chichester Dam is located 80 kilometre’s north of Newcastle in NSW at the south eastern corner of the World Heritage listed Barrington Tops National Park. Supplying nearly 35% of Hunter Water’s potable drinking water supply, Chichester Dam is a 44 metre high mass gravity concrete dam, curved in plan, with a 262 metre crest length and a centrally located spillway. At nearly 100 years old, the dam was originally constructed between 1915 and 1926, with the first water supplied in 1923. The dam has been upgraded throughout its life span, with the most significant works completed in the early 1980’s, when an enlarged spillway now 112m in length, was constructed and 93 post-tensioned anchors were installed in the dam wall to reduce the risk of overturning.
Chichester Dam has a catchment area of 199 km2 and a storage volume of 18,356 ML, supplying up to 35% of Hunter Water’s potable drinking water supply. To this day it is considered one of the most pristine catchments in Australia.
Due to the steep, heavily vegetated terrain in the vicinity of Chichester Dam, monitoring of the dam by traditional survey techniques was difficult, time consuming and costly. A combination of increased demand for supply and the age of the dam, required a focus on ensuring safety and minimising the consequences of failure. Hunter Water recognised the need to explore alternative approaches to monitoring the dam. Working with Detection Services and adopting a geospatial AI solution allows Hunter Water to remotely monitor Chichester Dam at scale. They can plan, prioritise, and optimise investment in this critical infrastructure.
Hunter Water engaged Detection Services to provide remote scalable and cost effective dam monitoring using state of the art technology to gain insights regarding the integrity of the dam and supply. Geospatial AI technology and satellite observations were adopted to analyse both historical data and to understand the dam’s performance. Sophisticated analysis provided an accurate picture of the structural changes arising over time including millimetre precision mapping for terrain movement, soil saturation, deformations and send alerts of unusual changes. This innovative and adaptive technology offers Hunter Water the ability to accurately and remotely monitor Chichester Dam whilst identifying tactical opportunities.
To enhance public safety and understand Chichester Dam’s behaviour, geospatial AI initially interpreted three years of historic satellite data to create a retrospective analysis. This first step established a baseline trend of what is ‘normal’ and what is not. The team at Hunter Water then receive monthly updates, using data collected at six to twelve day intervals, to flag and locate any arising issues, down to a few millimetre’s of displacement. In addition to monitoring precise structural movements, the satellite data analyses vegetation moisture and vigour to pick up indicators of seepage which further mitigate risk and advance understanding of the dam’s performance.
Hunter Water has entered into a 3 year contract with Detection Services to monitor Grahamstown Dam. Utilising AI technology and geospatial data for monitoring of Chichester Dam builds upon the benefits that are currently being realised at Grahamstown Dam, delivering value by embracing innovation with intelligent control allowing:
- Identify growth opportunities and minimise exposure to risks
- Optimise capital improvement and sustainability programs
- Maximise operational and infrastructure issues
- Create accurate dam safety protocols
The approach adopted for Hunter Water and Chichester Dam showcases how Detection Service’s innovative technologies and solutions allow customers to prioritise security, minimise risk and optimise sustainability programmes.