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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service


item Temple, Darrel
item Hanson, Gregory
item Neilsen, Mitchell

Submitted to: ASABE Annual International Meeting
Publication Type: Proceedings
Publication Acceptance Date: 6/15/2006
Publication Date: 7/9/2006
Citation: Temple, D.M., Hanson, G.J., Neilsen, M.L. 2006. Windam-analysis of overtopped earth embankment dams. In: ASABE Annual International Meeting, July 9-12, 2006, Portland, Oregon. Paper No. 06-2105. 2006 CDROM.

Interpretive Summary: During the last half of the twentieth century, the USDA assisted with the design and construction of a large number of dams for flood protection and other uses. Many of these dams are now reaching the end of their planned service life and will require rehabilitation to continue to effectively serve their intended purpose. Changes that have taken place in the watershed along with sedimentation in the reservoir place many of these dams at greater risk of overtopping during extreme flood events. This increases the need for better tools to evaluate the performance of these overtopped dams, the potential for breach, and the effects of economical measures to reduce the risk of breach. Research has been performed to allow engineers to better evaluate the ability of natural measures to protect earth embankment dams from breach and to predict when breach will or will not occur. The results of this research are being incorporated into computational tools for field application to evaluate the safety of structures in their current condition and to determine the effectiveness of using natural materials such as rock and well maintained sod linings on the downstream face of the dam. The technical basis for these tools, the status of their development, and their availability are discussed in this report.

Technical Abstract: Windows Dam Analysis Modules (WINDAM) is a modular software application which is being developed for the analysis of overtopped earth embankments. The development is being carried out in stages with the initial computational model addressing the routing of the flood through the reservoir with dam overtopping and evaluation of the potential for vegetation or riprap to delay or prevent failure of the embankment. That model, WINDAMa, is an alpha testing with availability of a beta test version expected in the fall of 2006. Work has begun on expanding the model, WINDAMb, to include erosional failure of a homogeneous embankment through drainage of stored water. The approach taken in developing this failure model has been to first develop a research oriented model for use in analyzing data from embankment breach tests conducted in the United States and Europe. This SIMplified Breach Analysis (SIMBA) mode is designed to allow application of different computational procedures to data analysis for the purpose of increasing understanding of the process and determining the approach best suited to field application in the WINDAM model. Analysis of the available data with SIMBA is continuing with simultaneous development of the structure of the WINDAM program to allow incorporation of the computational routines found to best represent the data. Later expansion of the models to include analysis on non-homogeneous embankments is anticipated.

Last Modified: 06/21/2017
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