Nepal is a nation of over 27 million people. Despite its numerous river valleys, over recent decades several regions of the country have been faced with water shortages. Long, dry winters, coupled with water infrastructure that is inadapted to the needs of an ever-increasing urban population have led to a severe lack of water in some areas.
There is therefore an urgent need to develop hydro tunnelling, to supply not only water, but also electricity, as Nepal has no reserves of oil or gas, and only small coal reserves.
This situation has sparked several major projects over the last few years, including the the 12km long Bheri Babai tunnel under construction. When complete, the project will include a 48MW hydro electric installation and will deliver water from the Bheri River valley into the Babai basin, irrigating 60,000 hectares of land in the southern region of Nepal and benefitting an estimated 30,000 households.
It is in this context that an ITACET training session on "The Operation and Maintenance of Hydro Tunnels" was held in Nepal on 13th December 2018 at the request of the Nepal Tunnelling Association and within the scope of the Nepal Tunnelling Conference 2018.
This training session, organised by the ITACET Foundation in collaboration with the Nepal Tunnelling Association, aimed to provide an overview of the main issues regarding the operation, maintenance and repair of tunnels, shafts and caverns in an underground hydroelectric complex.
Topics covered included the advantages and disadvantages of different types of lining for hydro tunnels, tunnel performance criteria, structural disorders, monitoring, inspection and repair methods, health and safety issues and asset management strategies.
The three lecturers were Mr. Marco Bacchelli, an expert in tunnel waterproofing and Vice President of Carpi Tech, Switzerland, Mr. Massimo Cadenelli, who currently works for the hydraulic department of the consulting firm Lombardi Engineering, and Mr. François Laigle, a senior engineer and geotechnical and underground works expert at EdF, the main French Electricity company.
The event gathered 123 participants and was the 5th ITACET training session to be organised in collaboration with the Nepal Tunnelling Association.
Below: the three lecturers (centre) with representatives of the Nepal Tunnelling Association.