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ARS Home » Northeast Area » Beltsville, Maryland (BARC) » Beltsville Agricultural Research Center » Hydrology and Remote Sensing Laboratory » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #349505

Research Project: Improving Agroecosystem Services by Measuring, Modeling, and Assessing Conservation Practices

Location: Hydrology and Remote Sensing Laboratory

Title: Development of an earthen dam break database

item HOOD, K. - Us Military Academy
item PEREZ, R. - Collaborator
item CIEPLINSKI, H. - Collaborator
item HROMADKA, T. - Us Military Academy
item Moglen, Glenn
item MCINVALE, H. - Us Military Academy

Submitted to: Journal of the American Water Resources Association
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 10/9/2018
Publication Date: 11/29/2018
Citation: Hood, K., Perez, R., Cieplinski, H., Hromadka, T., Moglen, G.E., Mcinvale, H. 2018. Development of an earthen dam break database. Journal of the American Water Resources Association. 55(1): 89-101.

Interpretive Summary: Observations of earthen dam failures are rare events. As a result, predictions of flood peaks resulting from such failures are variable and uncertain. This study describes the development of a large data base (over 160 records) of earthen dam failures created through the aggregation of observations from multiple smaller studies. The large data base is used to revisit predictive equations of the same functional form as those developed in the original, smaller studies from which the aggregate data base was assembled. A key concern when making dam failure peak flow predictions for a specific set of test conditions is whether the test conditions are within the range of those in the observed data base. This study presents a web-based tool that allows the user to explore possible dam failure peak flows and visually assess how well the test conditions are represented by the observational data base. The tool is, therefore, valuable both for the predictions it provides and the failure condition context it conveys.

Technical Abstract: A frequently used approach to assess earthen dam-break outcomes is to use regression equations developed from available historic earthen dam-break data collected following various dam-break events. A tool to aid in assessing the applicability of a particular dam-break regression equation is a valuable contribution towards better understanding the connectivity between the various related water resources factors. We present our work on an expanded earthen dam-break database that relates commonly used regression equations to the actual data that are the underpinnings of each equation. Significant to the effort is the assembly of earthen dam break event measurements into a comprehensive data base of over 160 earthen dam failure events with relevant in-situ measurements. At issue is whether the data, upon which the selected regression is based, are representative of the test case. This paper presents the development of a web application in assessing the appropriateness of particular regression equation selections versus the test case data and its fit within the data set upon the selected regression. An online web application is discussed in which case study data for a test situation are entered into the application which adds the test data point into the graphical display in order to visualize the comparability and representativeness of the existing database for use in developing a new regression equation of the selected regression equation.