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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Title: Development of next-generation embankment dam breach models

item Wahl, Tony
item Hanson, Gregory
item Courivaud, Jean-robert
item Morris, Mark
item Kahawita, Rene
item Mcclenathan, Jeffery
item Gee, Michael

Submitted to: United States Society on Dams Proceedings
Publication Type: Proceedings
Publication Acceptance Date: 4/10/2008
Publication Date: 5/1/2008
Citation: Wahl, T.L., Hanson, G.J., Courivaud, J., Morris, M.W., Kahawita, R., McClenathan, J.T., Gee, M.D. 2008. Development of next-generation embankment dam breach models. Proceedings of the 2008 U.S. Society on Dams Annual Meeting and Conference, April 28-May 2, 2008, Portland, Oregon. p. 767-779.

Interpretive Summary: An International group of dam owners is working together with industry and research organizations including ARS Scientists at the Hydraulic Engineering Research Unit in Stillwater, Oklahoma to facilitate the development and deployment of a physically-based embankment breach model. This not only includes working with numerical models to predict breach but also compiling real world large-scale laboratory test data and real-world case studies, and evaluating testing methods for measuring key soil material model input parameters. This group then plans to incorporate these numerical models into flood prediction models that can be used by the engineering profession. This will be important to developing the science of flood prediction and emergency action planning.

Technical Abstract: The Dam Safety Interest Group (DSIG) of the Centre for Energy Advancement through Technological Innovation (CEATI International Inc.) is an international group of dam owners that pursues collaborative research on a wide range of topics. Since 2004 the DSIG has been working to facilitate the development and deployment of a physically-based embankment dam breach model. The group, with assistance from non-CEATI member organizations, has completed a first phase of work which identified promising numerical models presently under development and compiled real-world case study data and large-scale laboratory test data for future use in model validation. In the second phase of the project, the group will evaluate candidate modeling technologies using the assembled data sets and then integrate selected technologies into the HEC-RAS dynamic routing model suite. Parallel work is also underway to evaluate methods for quantifying the erodibility of embankment materials, a key input for a new and improved model. At this time, the models under consideration are being evaluated for their capability of analyzing embankments with simple geometries experiencing overtopping flow. In a future third phase, the group plans to pursue capabilities for more complex and varied embankment configurations and for breaches initiated by internal erosion and piping.

Last Modified: 06/25/2017
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