The evaluation of shore protection structures used for erosion control at Lake Pukaki, New Zealand
Degree GrantorUniversity of Canterbury
Degree NameMaster of Science
This thesis investigates the shore processes of Lake Pukaki to assess the suitability and performance of existing and potential future options for management of shore hazards. Following two successive raisings of the water level in the past sixty years, Lake Pukaki’s shoreline has undergone extensive erosion. Since mid 1987 until early 1988, shoreline erosion control structures (i.e. rock revetments, gabion baskets and groynes) were constructed and maintained to protect sections of road and other assets from further encroachment of the lake shoreline.
The use of the RBR XR-620 pressure sensor in this study marks the first occasion when wave statistics were measured via instrumentation at Lake Pukaki. The mean significant wave height (Hs) identified for this study was 0.53 m, while the maximum recorded wave height was 1.84 m. Similar to other alpine lakes, Lake Pukaki has characteristics of steep plunging waves. The LAKEWAVE wave hindcasting model is used to describe the wave environment about the Lake Pukaki shoreline in terms of its optimum energy potential. The maximum wave height and wave period values estimated by LAKEWAVE have been found to compare well with measured wave statistics. Under the current wave climate, experienced during this study period (July 2010 – February 2011), the majority of the assessed rock revetments seem to be performing well. The Hudson and Van der Meer formula seemed to predict respectable stability thresholds that agree with what was observed in the field. The revetment at Site 3 is the biggest concern in terms of performance based on field observations.
The short-period high-magnitude storm events, eventuating from a strong north/northwest wind flow, that coincide with high lake levels tend to cause the most significant erosion along the shoreline at Lake Pukaki and have a major influence of riprap stability. Other environmental factors including the steep nearshore profile, the glacial till backshore, groundwater and precipitation were identified as controlling factors leading to the success or failure of the shore protection structures.