Submitted to: National Watershed Conference National Watershed Coalition
Publication Type: Proceedings
Publication Acceptance Date: 5/15/2005
Publication Date: 5/25/2005
Citation: Temple, D.M., Hanson, G.J., Hunt, S. 2005. Dam overtopping research. In: Proceedings of the 9th National Watershed Coalition Conference, May 21-25, 2005, Ft. Mitchell, Kentucky. 2005 CDROM.
Technical Abstract: Aging of the watershed dams and development within the watersheds that have created changes in watershed hydrology have increased the potential for dam overtopping. Development around the dam and reservoir may increase the consequences of associated dam failure and, combined with financial constraints, can limit the options available for prevention of overtopping. These concerns have led to the development of a research program by the USDA, Agricultural Research Service Hydraulic Engineering Research Unit focused on understanding and modeling embankment overtopping processes. A primary goal of this program is to provide a basis for predicting whether an overtopped earth dam will breach, the timing of the breach if it occurs, and the outflow that could be generated by a breach. The approach taken by the research program has been to divide the overall breach process into component processes and to study these components using appropriate physical models. These studies have led to the development of a simplified computational model that shows promise for incorporation into software for field application. A second component of the program is the development of design criteria for economical measures that may be used to increase resistance to breach. This portion of the research program includes study of the hydraulic considerations associated with the use of roller compacted concrete (RCC) for placement of a spillway over the existing dam, and the identification of measures that may be taken to reinforce areas of maximum hydraulic attack. This report briefly discusses the Hydraulic Engineering Research Unit’s research program and some of the implications of the experimental observations.