Dams and overtopping: a polyhedral relationship

Toledo, M. Á., author
Colorado State University. Department of Engineering, publisher
Journal Title
Journal ISSN
Volume Title
This paper discusses the different elements playing a role in causes and consequences of dam overtopping: the river basin, the reservoir, the dam and the spillway, the riverbed and the territory downstream of the reservoir. The risk is presented as the key concept linking all these elements, causes and consequences of the dam overtopping. The perspective of the different stakeholders is also considered, especially that of the dam owner, who is responsible for making a decision about what to do if a dam overtopping problem arises. The different attitudes of the dam owner are mainly characterized by the definition of the damage adopted when considering the risk as a basis for an informed decision taking. The social and economical risk are defined as characteristic of the extreme opposite positions, considering only damage to others, casualties and environmental damage (social risk), or considering only the cost for the dam owner, including cost in compensation for casualties and environmental damage, (economical risk). The legalist position is also considered, of the dam owner that seeks to comply with the regulations, irrespective of the risk except in the countries where risk considerations are already part of the legal framework for decision-making. Three key questions that the dam owner must answer to solve an overtopping problem are analyzed: a) Do I really have a problem? b) What different ways can I solve my overtopping problem; and, c) How do I choose the best solution for me? Finally, an ideal process for solving an overtopping problem on a rational and informed way is proposed, including the perspective and position of the particular dam owner. The general process should be adapted for every particular case in order to be feasible in practice and as efficient as possible.
Presented at the Protections 2016: 2nd international seminar on dam protection against overtopping: concrete dams, embankment dams, levees, tailings dams held on 7th-9th September, 2016, at Colorado State University in Fort Collins, Colorado, USA. The increasing demand for dam and levee safety and flood protection has motivated new research and advancements and a greater need for cost-effective measures in overtopping protection as a solution for overtopping concerns at levees and dams. This seminar will bring together leading experts from practice, research, development, and implementation for two days of knowledge exchange followed by a technical tour of the Colorado State University Hydraulic Laboratory with overtopping flume and wave simulator. This seminar will focus on: Critical issues related to levees and dams; New developments and advanced tools; Overtopping protection systems; System design and performance; Applications and innovative solutions; Case histories of overtopping events; Physical modeling techniques and recent studies; and Numerical modeling methods.
Includes bibliographical references.
Keynote speaker: Professor Miguel Á. Toledo, PhD. Professor Toledo has been teaching Dam Engineering at the Technical University of Madrid for more than 20 years, since 1991; has been involved in plenty of designs and studies of dams; and is the coordinator of the Dam Safety Research group (SERPA). So, he is a rare mix of teacher, practitioner and researcher. He has devoted, and still does, much of his research activity to rockfill dam failure due to overtopping and how to avoid it.
Rights Access
failure probability
Associated Publications