3D Numerical Modeling of a Side-Channel Spillway
Within the framework of the rehabilitation of Electricité de Tahiti (GDF Suez) dams, Coyne et Bellier carried out a diagnosis and an overall study of the Tahinu dam. Tahinu is a 37-m-high earthfill hydroelectric dam, located in the island of Tahiti, French Polynesia. The review of the hydrological study and the application of French standards lead to increase the peak design flood from 500 to 644 m3/s (+30 %). First, a 1D numerical modeling of the side-channel spillway (crest length 60 m) was performed to assess its discharge capacity. The conclusion was an insufficient capacity of the spillway that might induce an overtopping of the crest dam and of the sidewalls of the spillway channel. Then, to confirm these results and to take into account the specific configuration of the spillway (non-uniform distribution of the approach velocity and depth below crest, irregular geometry of the side-channel cross section, submerged weir, curved channel spillway), a 3D numerical modeling was carried out with Flow 3D®. Simulations showed more accurate results than 1D model (general pattern of the flow, upstream reservoir level). Consequently, heightenings of the dam crest and the sidewalls of the spillway channel were designed and optimized to secure sufficient freeboards for safety.