Evaluating the decision criteria for the prioritisation of South African dams for rehabilitation in terms of risk to human lives

Reynolds, Sonel (2013-03)

Thesis (MScEng)--Stellenbosch University, 2013.

Thesis

ENGLISH ABSTRACT: In South Africa a large number of dams owned by the Department of Water Affairs (DWA) need to be rehabilitated. This study investigated the decision process involved in the prioritisation of dams for rehabilitation. DWA developed a risk analysis methodology for defining the risks associated with dam safety, expressed as the combination of the probability and consequences of dam failure. These risks are evaluated usingmultiple acceptability criteria to assess risk to human life and the economic, social, socio-economic and environmental impacts of dam failure. In this study, the criteria used in the decision process to evaluate the acceptability of life safety risks were evaluated by comparing to international best practice methods, where the acceptability of risk to human life is commonly assessed as the expected number of fatalities against life safety criteria presented as FN-criteria on an FN-diagram. Damrehabilitation should reduce the probability of dam failure, thereby reducing the risk to society in terms of the expected lives lost. However, the rehabilitation works come at a cost and the level of these investments are usually large. In addition, the rehabilitation of South African government owned dams are financed by society and these financial resources are limited. Thus investments into dam rehabilitation works should be worthwhile for society. Society’s Willingness to Pay (SWTP) for safety was applied to South African dam safety to determine the acceptable level of expenditure into life safety that is required by society. Investments into improved safety levels are not always dictated by society, but could also be driven by the decision maker or owner requiring an economically optimal solution for the rehabilitation. Economic optimisation accounts for considerations additional to life safety, including economic motivations, damage costs of dam failure as well as compensation costs for lives lost. Often economic optimisation would govern the decision problem. Also, the DWA current evaluation does not take the cost of rehabilitation into account in any way. Thus, FN-criteria that primarily evaluates life safety, but also incorporates a measure of economic efficiency, were suggested in this study.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: In Suid-Afrika moet ’n groot aantal dammewat deur dieDepartement vanWaterwese (DWA) besit word gerehabiliteer word. Hierdie studie het die besluitnemingsproses ondersoekwat toegepasword om damme te prioritiseer vir rehabilitasiewerke. DWA het ’n bestaande metodologie wat gebaseer is op risiko-analise. Die risikos wat verband hou met damveiligheid word deur die metode bepaal en word uitgedruk as die kombinasie van waarskynlikheid en die beraamde gevolge van damfaling. Hierdie risikosword geëvalueer teenoor verskeie kriteriawat die aanvaarbaarheid van risikos teenoor menselewens en die ekonomiese, sosiale, sosio-ekonomiese en omgewingsimpakte van damfalings assesseer. In hierdie studie word die kriteria wat gebruik word in die besluitnemingsproses om die aanvaarbaarheid van risikos teenoor menselewens te bepaal geëvalueer deur die kriteria te vergelyk met metodes wat internasionaal as beste praktyk beskou word. Internasionaal word die aanvaarbaarheid van risikos teenoor menselewens oor die algemeen as die verwagte aantal sterftes teenoor lewensveiligheidskriteria FN-kriteria op ’n FN-diagram geassesseer. Dam rehabilitasiewerke behoort die waarskynlikheid van damfaling te verminder, sodoende verminder die risiko teenoor die samelewing in terme van verwagte sterftes. Die rehabilitasiewerke vereis finansiële beleggings, en hierdie beleggings is gewoonlik groot. Verder word die rehabilitasie van Suid-Afrikaanse damme wat deur DWA besit word deur samelewing gefinansier en hierdie finasiële hulpbronne is beperk. Dus moet hierdie beleggings die moeite werd wees vir die samelewing. Die samelewing se bereidwilligheidomte betaal ("SWTP") vir veiligheid word toegepas in Suid- Afrikaanse damveiligheidomdie aanvaarbare vlak van beleggings vir ’n verbeterde veiligheid teenoor menselewens wat deur die samelewing vereis word te bepaal. Beleggings in verbeterde damveiligheidsvlakke word egter nie altyd bepaal deur die samelewing nie,maar kan ook gedryf word deur die besluitnemer of eienaar wat ’n ekonomies optimale oplossing vir die rehabilitatiesewerke vereis. Ekonomiese optimering neem oorwegings addisioneel tot lewensveiligheid in ag, insluitend ekonomiese motiverings, skade kostes as die dam faal, sowel as vergoedingskostes vir die verwagte sterftes. Ekonomiese optimering beheer dikwels die besluitnemingsprobleem. Verder neem die huidige DWA besluitnemingssproses in geen manier die kostes van rehabilitasie in ag nie. Dus word FN-kriteria wat hoofsaaklik veiligheid teenoor menselewens evalueer,maar wat ook ’n mate van ekonomiese doeltreffendheid insluit, voorgestel in hierdie studie.

Please refer to this item in SUNScholar by using the following persistent URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10019.1/80288
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