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Water Conductor System

1.1 General Description Water conductor system in a hydro power project conducts water required for generation of power from reservoir to the power house. It essentially consists of an Intake structure, a channel or a tunnel which ends in a fore bay/ Surge shaft, another set of steeply inclined tunnels carry water from fore bay/surge shaft to the machine (Turbines) which generate power and discharges water into a tail Race channel/tunnel. Intake Generally, any Hydro power scheme is conceptualized in a reach of the river where it flows in the shape of a curve. For optimum utilization of the potential available in the reach, an intake structure is provided close to the commencement of the curve from where water is fed to sedimentation tank which is followed by the water conductor system. The intake structure is given the form of a smooth curve (most oftenly bell mouth) to reduce entry losses (whenever there is a sudden change in hydraulic regime of flow, losses occur). The depth of intake shall be such that no air is sucked in under any condition. The location of outlet of a tunnel shall be such that the entry of air would not adversely affect the tunnel operation and safety. To arrest the air entry at inlet, the overt of inlet is kept 0.6 times the Diameter of tunnel, below minimum operating level. Head Race Tunnel (HRT) Through intake structure water enters into the structure which carries it upto a surge shaft/fore bay. If water is carried through a channel it is called a power channel, if carried through a tunnel is called a Head Race Tunnel (HRT). 1.1.1 Alignment of HRT The layout of head race tunnel is firmed up on the basis of providing minimal length, number of bends in view of keeping head losses through HRT as low as possible and adequate rock confinement/ cover. The alignment is finalized so that it satisfies following criteria for confinement: 1. Minimum 3 times De (excavated dia of HRT) rock cover above HRT shall be ensured throughout the length of the tunnel. 2. Vertical rock cover at any point along the tunnel alignment shall not be less than the static water head i.e. vertical rock cover x unit weight of rock > water head x unit weight of water

The alignment of the tunnel is generally kept as much across the general strike of rocks (direction of rock strata when seen in plan) which is better condition for tunneling. Tunnel is deviated from straight line either to minimize the length of intermediate adit or to provide the needed rock cover. To reduce the period of construction as many intermediate adits (approach tunnels constructed to provide access to the main tunnel) should be proposed to reduce the length of excavation from a face to a maximum of 3000m. 1.2 Hydraulic Parameters The available data of water flows on 10 daily basis is analysed for determining 90% and 50% dependable years corresponding dependable flow. From these studies basic parameters as considered for deciding the sizes and maximum design/discharge and minimum discharge are calculated. The rugosity coefficient, which is a measure of roughness of the tunnel surface, for concrete lined tunnel varies from 0.012 to 0.018. HRT is generally very gently sloped. 1.3 Shape and size of tunnel Since a HRT is a hydraulic tunnel, ideally its section should be such that it should ensure minimum losses or should be efficient. Hydraulically, Circular section is most efficient. However, it is difficult to construct. From construction point of view D-shaped tunnel is best as it provides maximum working area but since it has corners which cause more losses. As a result, a horse shoe shape is most oftenly adopted which is a tradeoff between D-shape and Circular shape. The maximum permissible velocity in a concrete lined head race tunnel is 6.0 m/s, however, economic diameter studies are carried out in which diameter of the HRT is calculated, so that, total annual expenditure by capital cost and loss of annual benefit by head loss is minimized. Levels of HRT: levels of HRT are fixed based on transient analysis (Explained later in the section relating to surge shaft). Level of HRT at surge shaft should be such that during the condition of down surge no air enters the water conductor system i.e. no air entrainment is allowed in the tunnel. Design of HRT: Design of a HRT, like any other tunnel comprises of two parts (1) Design of supports for maintaining the stability of the excavation. (2) Design of final lining which in most cases is provided from hydraulic point of view rather than structural point of view. Design of Final lining in case of a HRT is done primarily for external water pressure acting on the tunnel. If water table data of the area is available then the actual data is used, otherwise it is a general practice to calculate the water

pressure by joining the Full Reservoir Level (F.R.L) with steady state level of surge shaft. Final lining is designed for a nominal rock load depending upon the type of rock it is being excavated in and is only checked for internal pressure assuming that rock surrounding the tunnel lining will act in unison with the tunnel lining. HRT is not designed for any transient pressures as a structure called as surge shaft is provided to release the same.

Surge Shaft A Surge Shaft is a vertical tunnel, provided at the end of HRT : 1. To protect the Head Race tunnel from bursting during sudden shut down of turbines. 2. To act as an intermediate reservoir during sudden start of turbines. Transient analysis: By definition, transient means lasting for a short span of time. In case of water conductor system, transient analysis is carried out to estimate change in pressure in the tunnel brought about by sudden opening and shut down of the turbines. Increase in pressure: Upsurge During normal operating conditions when water is flowing through the tunnel it exerts some pressure on the walls of the tunnel called the internal pressure. When the normal flow of water is abruptly stopped by shutting the valves of the turbine, the water column near the valve is brought to a sudden halt, where-as water in the rest of the tunnel is still flowing. This flowing water exerts a force on to the water column at rest, thereby compressing the water to some extent and increasing the volume of water to the rest. Now, this increased volume of water tries to accommodate itself in the same section of tunnel by expanding it resulting in increase in the internal pressure on the tunnel walls. Generally, a short length of the tunnel is designed for taking this increased pressure (designing the entire tunnel for this pressure would be un-economical), however the rest of the tunnel is to be protected from this increased pressure by means of providing a release. A surge shaft is a structure which releases this increased pressure by providing an open surface. Water in the surge shaft rises to a certain level (depending upon the internal pressure) thereby releasing the pressure. This phenomenon of raise in water level of surge shaft due to increase in pressure of the tunnel is called the upsurge. Decrease in pressure: Down-surge:

When the plant is not in operation, water in the water conductor system is at rest, now suddenly if the valves of the machine is opened, the water in the water conductor system starts flowing. Now, during the normal operation the source of water which flows through the water conductor system is the reservoir which is at a long distance, in case of sudden opening of the valves water near the valve starts flowing and a draw down is generated which travels the entire length of the tunnel to the reservoir creating a draft to start the flow of water towards the turbine. This process takes time and Surge shaft acts as an intermediate reservoir and feeds the water conductor system till the time water from the reservoir arrives. The capacity of surge shaft should be such that it is able to feed the water conductor system till the water from the reservoir arrives even in case of maximum draw down. This draw down is called the Down surge. Height of surge shaft: height of surge is fixed to accommodate both maximum upsurge and maximum down surge and allowing a sufficient free board both on top and bottom. Diameter of surge shaft: during upsurge the water level in the surge shaft rises even above the reservoir level leading to a reverse flow of water from surge shaft to reservoir. This reverse flow decreases the level in S.S temporarily till the next wave of increased pressure (reduced magnitude) reaches the S.S. This phenomenon is called mass oscillation. Diameter of surge shaft is fixed ensuring that the increase or the decrease in the internal pressure of the tunnel which results in a mass oscillation in the surge shaft (by means of upsurge or down surge) eventually decreases in amplitude and dies out. Location of surge shaft is chosen where natural topography of the area allows opening at the desired height, however, underground surge shafts have been provided in certain projects. Construction of surge shaft is carried out in following stages: 1. A pilot hole (typically 300mm in diameter) is drilled using a raise borer to the entire depth of the shaft. 2. This hole is then reamed in the entire depth to a diameter of around 2m using a reamer. 3. The rest of the width of the surge shaft is excavated using normal drill and blast technique and is done in steps of 2-3m