Grantley Smith - Principal Engineer & Manager: In 2012, Grantley transitioned into the role of WRL Principal Engineer and Manager, taking over from the successful tenure of Brett Miller who held the Manager’s position for 10 years. The sound management systems set in place by Brett during his time as manager, including the WRL Projects Team ISO9001 quality management system, allowed for a smooth management transition for the team. This enabled Grantley to maintain a significant technical contribution to the group.
Grantley has been busy contributing to a range of industry projects. In particular, he has made a significant contribution as co-author of several reports in the revision of the Engineers Australia (EA) guideline document Australian Rainfall and Runoff (ARR). These reports include the recently released Project 15 Report “Two Dimensional Modelling in Urban and Rural Floodplains”, which is set to become an international standard for numerical model development, and the Project 10 reports on “People and Vehicle Stability in Floods”, which generated considerable interest from industry.
In recognition of his contribution to ARR, Grantley was invited by Engineers Australia to present his work to EA seminars in a tour of Australian capital cities. Grantley was also an invited keynote speaker at the Queensland Water Engineering Symposium and the DHI Modelling Forum in the United Kingdom.
Grantley is also actively consulted by government and industry. This year he has provided advice supporting the Federal Department of Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities’ QLD Expert Panel on Coal Seam Gas and through review of the proposed Methodology for Bioregional Assessments by the Independent Expert Scientific Committee on Coal Seam Gas and Coal Mining. He reviewed numerous flood studies and floodplain management studies as part of the Victorian Flood Warning Network - Repair and Improvement Initiative, and contributed to the National Flood Risk Advisory Group (NFRAG), a reference group of the National Emergency Management Committee as part of the development of the draft national guideline, Managing the Floodplain: A Guide to Best Practice in Flood Risk Management in Australia.
Grantley continues in his role as Chair of the EA Sydney Water Engineering Panel. As part of this commitment, Grantley chaired the organising committee of the 34th Hydrology and Water Resources Symposium. The Symposium, held in November this year at Cockle Bay in Darling Harbour, was enjoyed by 290 delegates who presented some 190 peer reviewed papers on the latest industry research and best practice.
Brett Miller - Principal Engineer - Hydraulics & Modelling: Brett’s major projects in 2012 included; design, construction and testing of specialist barochambers for the NSW Department of Primary Industries; rainfall-runoff, erosion and surface water modelling for the Ranger Uranium Mine (Northern Territory); modelling of pollutant source and fate in Darwin Harbour; computational fluid dynamics modelling of flows through undershot weirs; and the design and implementation of an online database for hosting UNSW’s hydrology archives. Brett was active in providing specialist advice on several ocean outfalls projects, where he chaired the workshop Ocean and Estuarine Outfalls - NSW Perspectives at WRL, and hosted a visit from international outfall expert Professor Phillip Roberts. In addition, Brett was a co-editor in the Engineers Australia National Committee on Ocean Engineering’s Climate Change Adaptation Guidelines in Coastal Management and Planning.
Matt Blacka - Senior Project Engineer: Major projects for Matt in 2012 were spread between the desk, the laboratory and in the field. Desktop studies included several investigations for the Tasmanian Coastal Adaptation Decision Pathways Project, as well as a major review of the use of artificial reefs for coastal protection in NSW. Matt also completed several trips to the Cook Islands during the year, undertaking the first two stages of an adaptation and vulnerability assessment for Avarua, Rarotonga, with the third stage currently underway in the laboratory at WRL. Most recently Matt has been working on a complete upgrade of WRL’s coastal imaging program, including the installation of new equipment at four stations on the Southern Gold Coast and the development of a new coastal imaging website.
Throughout the year Matt coordinated a range of coastal physical modelling studies, including testing for the Ichthys LNG plant site in Darwin, the Coffs Harbour eastern breakwater upgrade, and testing of pontoon structures for Gladstone Ports Corporation. Matt was also elected as Secretary for the Engineers Australia NSW Coastal, Ocean and Port Engineering Panel (COPEP).
Dr William Glamore - Senior Research Fellow: Will’s major projects in 2012 included the hydrologic assessment of several wetlands including Big Swamp (Manning Valley), Lake Innes (near Port Macquarie), Yarrahapinni Wetland (Maclaey Valley), Tomago Wetland (Hunter Valley), Arndilly Wetland (Clarence Valley), Temperate Peat Swamps on Sandstone (Federal Government), and Broughton Creek (Shoalhaven Valley). Two large boat wave-riverbank vulnerability projects were also undertaken at the Seaham Weir Pool (Hunter Water Corporation) and at the Shoalhaven River (Southern Rivers CMA).
In addition, Will directed the course Wetland Hydrology - Restoring the Basics in September, conducted Estuarine Hydrodynamic training workshops to NSW’s Office of Environment and Heritage, and was also involved in a series of expert panels and reviews including the Federal Government’s Expert Panel on Coal Seam Gas in Queensland (Technical Advice). Will presented at the NSW Coastal Conference in Kiama and was Vice-Chairman of the 2012 Hydrology and Water Resources Symposium in Sydney. A major highlight was the publication of a chapter in Tidal Marsh Restoration by Island Press.
Alexandra Badenhop - Project Engineer: Alexandra has been focussed on two major projects in 2012; Namoi groundwater mapping and transition zones, analysing groundwater level data to determine areas of greatest risk and decline in the alluvial aquifers in the Namoi; and SHOROC regional groundwater investigations for Manly, Warringah and Pittwater Councils including groundwater use, aquifer extents, water quality, recharge, groundwater dependent ecosystems, sustainable extraction and management. Alexandra has been pleased to present her work on long-term salinisation of the Namoi Catchment at the International Association of Hydrogeologists Symposium in Niagara Falls, Canada, and the Hydrology and Water Resources Symposium in Sydney.
Ian Coghlan - Project Engineer: Ian’s major projects in 2012 included preparation of the coastal hazard study for the Batemans Bay Coastal Zone Management Plan for the Eurobodalla Shire Council; the preparation and assessment of preliminary designs for a long-term seawall in combination with beach nourishment at Kingscliff Beach for Tweed Shire Council; and the preparation of case studies examining existing seawall structures at Clontarf and Bilgola Beach for Sydney Coastal Councils Group. Ian also developed concept designs for 4WD beach access on to Ten Mile Beach from Black Rocks campground in Bundjalung National Park (near Evans Head) for the NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service.
In addition, Ian presented at the National Practical Responses to Climate Change Conference in Canberra and co-authored a paper at the NSW Coastal Conference in Kiama.
Erica Davey - Project Engineer: Erica’s project work in 2012 was multi-disciplinary. Projects undertaken included two large boat wave-riverbank vulnerability projects, on the Seaham Weir Pool for the Hunter Water Corporation; and on the Shoalhaven River for the Southern Rivers CMA. Erica was also involved in a variety of coastal engineering work including North Narrabeen Beach Reserve engineering advice; and protection works advice for Roches Beach in Tasmania, and for Kingscliff in NSW. Erica is currently investigating remediation options for temperate highland peat swamps on sandstone in the Sydney Basin, and in the second half of 2012 has been heavily involved in the upgrade of the Argus coastal imaging stations on the Southern Gold Coast. Erica presented at the 2nd International Rip Current Symposium, held in Sydney in October.
Chris Drummond - Project Engineer: Chris joined the WRL Project Team late in 2012 after graduating with a Bachelor of Civil Engineering from UNSW. Following his graduation, Chris volunteered in Cambodia and was involved in the design and implementation of biodigester systems in floating communities to improve sanitation. Since starting at WRL, Chris has primarily been involved in physical modelling of a breakwater for Wyndham Harbour.
Dr Francois Flocard - Project Engineer: Francois’ major project in 2012 was the costal hazards assessment of Port Fairy in Victoria, as part of the Future Coasts Program which is led by the Victorian Department of Sustainability and Environment, in partnership with the Department of Planning and Community Development. The projects main objective was to provide Moyne Shire Council and other land and asset managers with information that will assist in the planning and management of the projected impacts of climate change.
Francois also performed an assessment of the wave power resource near Port Fairy for BioPower Systems Pty Ltd, to assist them in the planning of their pilot ocean wave energy conversion project. In addition, Francois undertook testing of a prototype fresh water to salt water heat exchanger module fixed to the Overseas Passenger Terminal caisson in Sydney Harbour for Aurecon.
Alessio Mariani - Project Engineer: In 2012 Alessio completed a major study quantifying vulnerability of Australian beaches to erosion due to extreme wave events and sea level rise. The project was undertaken in collaboration with the Antarctic Climate and Ecosystems Centre and the following report was produced: Generic Design Coastal Erosion Volumes and Setbacks for Australia. Alessio also assessed coastal erosion and inundation hazards for Manly Beach in Sydney, as well as for several beaches within Sydney Harbour. In collaboration with the Sydney Coastal Councils Group and Coastal Environment Pty Ltd, a methodology for assessing impacts of extreme storms and sea level rise on existing coastal protection structures such as seawalls was formulated and implemented.
For over two months, Alessio travelled as a Churchill Fellow researching international innovative coastal engineering practices to combat beach erosion. Alessio was able to witness the practical application of alternative approaches on beaches along the coastlines of Japan, USA, Spain, France, The Netherlands and Italy; and was able to meet with world leading experts as he visited key research and private institutions in the field of coastal and water studies. Alessio also contributed a chapter to the newly published Engineers Australia Climate Change Adaptation Guidelines in Coastal Management and Planning.
Priom Rahman - Project Engineer: Priom’s major projects in 2012 included Darwin Harbour water quality modelling; and surface water and erosion modelling for Ranger Mine in the Northern Territory. Priom also undertook hydraulic conductivity testing using WRL’s centrifuge permeameter for Stuart oil shale aquitard assessments and Surat Basin rock cores. In addition, Priom was involved with MIKE flood modelling for the Port Fairy coastal hazard assessment; SHOROC regional groundwater resource investigations; bathymetric survey and gauging station assessment for arid regions at Fowlers Gap; and field testing for the Brooklyn and Dangar Island outfall dilution study.
Duncan Rayner - Project Engineer: Duncan undertook a wide range of projects for 2012 with a strong focus on environmental investigations consisting of both field and desktop components. A range of field investigations were undertaken including the Shoalhaven River floodplain, Lake Innes near Port Macquarie, Tomago Wetland, Big Swamp near Taree and Rarotonga in the Cook Islands. The data collected at these sites included groundwater, water quality, topographic, bathymetric and hydrodynamic. These projects targeted wetland restoration, floodplain rehabilitation and coastal extreme event prediction.
Duncan continued to maintain involvement in outfall hydraulics with the field testing of the Brooklyn and Dangar Island outfall. This experiment was undertaken in May involving the injection of Rhodamine WT tracer into the outfall system to be monitored by several vessels at the discharge location. Duncan has also undertaken the desktop review of several smaller outfalls on the NSW coast during 2012. Duncan presented at the Coasts to Coast conference in Brisbane where his ongoing research on wetlands and eco-hydraulics was summarised in a paper titled Modelling the Restoration of Coastal Wetlands.
Jamie Ruprecht - Project Engineer: Jamie’s major projects in 2012 included the hydrologic assessment of Big Swamp, a large coastal wetland on the NSW Mid North Coast. This project involved a large literature review, several field programs and the development of a 1D-2D Mike Flood model. Jamie was also involved in various stages of the restoration program underway at Tomago Wetland in the Hunter Valley, which formed the impetus for his research plan for 2012. Jamie presented a paper in line with his research goals titled Developing Empirical Hydraulic Geometry Relationships for NSW Wetlands, at the 2012 Hydrology and Water Resources Symposium in Sydney.
Jamie was also involved in the construction two barochambers and a unique shear flume. These systems will allow NSW Fisheries to undertake trials on various native Australian fish species to investigate the effects of rapid pressure changes and shear on fish. Data from these studies can be used for weir (especially undershot) and hydro-turbine design. Jamie’s interest in the coastal zone also led him to be involved with physical modelling of the remediation of the Coffs Harbour eastern breakwater, as well as the development of a coastal zone management plan for the Eurobodalla Shire Council which is currently underway.