Introduction to Addressing Inadequate Conveyance Capacity at Dams






The most common deficiency at dams in North America is inadequate spillway capacity.  Inadequate spillway capacity can result in overtopping of a dam during flood events.  This is especially a concern for embankment dams where overtopping of the dam embankment can cause breaching of the dam and uncontrolled release of the impounded water.  This failure mode accounts for more than 40 percent of recent dam failures.  A broad overview of the many approaches, including state-of-the-art technologies, to effectively modify existing dams to meet current spillway capacity requirements will be presented.   The various approaches will be illustrated with photographs from recently modified dams and case studies.

Five takeaways from this course: 

  • Recent updated federal guidelines for addressing spillway requirements at dams
  • Failure modes associated with inadequate spillway capacity
  • Variety of methods available to increase conveyance capacity at dams
  • Recent state-of-the-art research on increasing conveyance capacity at dams
  • Important factors that must be considered when increasing conveyance capacity at dams

Special thanks to our sustaining members