Alleviating severe flood risk, supplying natural resources

severe flood risk
Using BIM applications reduced design error by 90%, avoiding design changes and rework during construction Image: © Liaoning Water Conservancy & Hydropower Survey & Design Research Institute

Liaoning Water used OpenRoads and OpenBuildings to cut design error by 90% on the Dongtaizi Reservoir project, helping mitigate future severe flood risks to the area

  • Location: Chifeng, Inner Mongolia, China
  • Client: Liaoning Water Conservancy & Hydropower Survey & Design Research Institute
  • Sector: Water conservation

Liaoning Water Conservancy & Hydropower Survey & Design Research Institute was responsible for delivering the engineering design of the Dongtaizi Reservoir. This project is one of 172 major water conservancy endeavours meant to tackle China’s water scarcity and severe flood risk issues sponsored by the Chinese government.

The proposed infrastructure is a rockfill dam with an asphalt core wall and a concrete gravity dam with a total storage capacity of 321m cubic metres. Located in the upper and middle reaches of the Xar Moron River in Chifeng, Inner Mongolia, the reservoir will mitigate severe flood risk in the lower reaches of the river and supply water and agricultural irrigation to the areas adjacent to bottom of the river basin.

severe flood risk
The Dongtaizi Reservoir Project is one of 172 major water conservancy projects in China and one of 12 key livelihood projects in Inner Mongolia meant to mitigate severe flood risk and combat water scarcity
Image: © Liaoning Water Conservancy & Hydropower Survey & Design Research Institute

Challenging boundary and structural conditions

The surveying tasks and engineering specifications on the Dongtaizi Reservoir Project were immense. The site’s complex terrain required an accurate geological survey of the rock mass foundation types and structural plane upon which the dam design would be based.

A curved ecological fishway that enables migrating fish to pass through the dam demanded significant excavation that necessitated more than traditional 2D processes. Designing the rockfill dam section involved many control conditions and complicated interactions with the landscape, which cannot be solved with conventional 3D modelling.

Additionally, multidiscipline engineering and visualisation capabilities were essential to design the metal structure, hydraulic machinery and engineering, and an electromechanical system. Therefore, Liaoning Water realised that it had to adopt Building Information Modelling (BIM) solutions to overcome traditional design limitations on this large-scale water conservancy project.

BIM applications overcome traditional design restrictions

severe flood risk
Design efficiency increased by 40% to deliver the engineering design two weeks ahead of schedule
Image: © Liaoning Water Conservancy & Hydropower Survey & Design Research Institute

After considering their options, the team employed Bentley’s BIM software for accurate 3D design. Liaoning Water integrated OpenBuildings and OpenRoads Designer to streamline collaboration among multiple engineering disciplines and manage data.

They surveyed the landscape and created a detailed 3D geological model to precisely calculate excavation volumes and plan excavation processes. This visualisation in OpenRoads also allowed the project team to accurately position the ecological fishway and connect the structure’s complicated spatial curve to the landscape.

The rockfill dam section was designed using OpenRoads’ linear engineering capabilities to generate a truthful 3D model incorporating all control and boundary conditions. Several engineering disciplines collaborated on the design of the concrete dam in OpenBuildings, allowing the hydraulic machinery, metal structure and electromechanical equipment to be designed to avoid collisions.

Leveraging BIM technology to deliver a digital twin

Liaoning Water reduced design error by 90%. Delivering a technologically advanced model minimised changes to the overall design during construction. Accurately calculating project cost in the design stage of the project decreased the government’s overall investment.

With the support of open modelling technology, the project team improved design efficiency by 40% to deliver the plans two weeks ahead of schedule. They leveraged BIM software to produce a digital twin that provides full lifecycle support of the dam, including management during construction, operations and maintenance.

Using this project as the foundation for BIM usage on future water conservancy projects, Liaoning Water has implemented corporate 3D collaborative design standards and trained personnel to become a regional leader in BIM application.


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