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Seminar On Dams



Page No.


Types of dam:
Gravity dam

Arch dam

Earthen dam
Types of earthen dam

Site selection for dams

Geological investigation

Faults while construction



Joints in dam
Forces acting on dam


Impact assessment
Environmental Impact


Dam Failure
Main causes of failure of dam






Seminar On Dams

Definition:Dam is a solid barrier constructed at a suitable location across a river valley to store
flowing water.
Storage of water is utilized for following

Water for domestic consumption
Drought and flood control
For navigational facilities
Other additional utilization is to develop

These dams are heavy and massive wall-like
structures of concrete in which the whole weight
acts vertically downwards
Bhakra Dam is the highest Concrete Gravity dam
in Asia and Second Highest in the world.
Bhakra Dam is across river Sutlej in Himachal
The construction of this project was started in the year 1948 and was completed in 1963 .
In a gravity dam, the force that holds the dam in place against the push from the water is
Earths gravity pulling down on the weight of the dam itself. In a gravity dam, stability is
secured by making it of such a size and shape that it will resist overturning, sliding and
crushing at the toe. The dam will not overturn provided that the moment around the
turning point, caused by the water pressure, is smaller than the moment caused by the
weight of the dam

Seminar On Dams
Arch dams are built across narrow, deep river
gorges, but now in recent years they have
beenconsidered even for little wider valleys.
An arch dam is a type of dam that is curved and
commonly built with concrete. The arch dam is a
structure that is designed to curve upstream so that
the force of the water against it, known as
hydrostatic pressure, presses against the arch,
compressing and strengthening the structure as it
pushes into its foundation or abutments. An arch dam is most suitable for narrow gorges
or canyons with steep walls of stable rock to support the structure and stresses.

An embankment dam is a massive artificial water barrier. It is typically created by the
emplacement and compaction of a complex semiplastic mound of various compositions of soil,
sand, clay and/or rock. It has a semi-permanent
waterproof natural covering for its surface, and a
dense, waterproof core. This makes such a dam
impervious to surface or seepageerosion.
They are mainly built with clay, sand and gravel,
hence they are also known as Earth fill dam or
Rock fill dam
They are trapezoidal in shape
Earth dams are constructed where the foundation
or the underlying material or rocks are weak to support the masonry dam or where the
suitable competent rocks are at greater depth.
Earthen dams are relatively smaller in height and broad at the base
Embankment dams are made from compacted earth, and have two main types, rock-fill
and earth-fill dams. Embankment dams rely on their weight to hold back the force of
water, like the gravity dams made from concrete.


Seminar On Dams
Simple Embankment (homogeneous throughout)
Impervious Foundation
Impervious Core (Zoned embankments)

Water can easily pass through it and less

durable than other type dams.
The height of this dam is less

1. Topographically: Place must be suitable.
Narrow gorge or small valley with enough catchment areas.

2. Technically: Should be strong, impermeable, and stable.

Strong rocks leads to better designs.
impermeable sites ensures better storage
Stability with reference seismic shocks and slope failures around the dam are a
great relief to the public as well as the engineering.

3. Constructionally: Should be not far off from deposits of materials which would be useful for
Natural materials of cons. Like earth, sand, gravel,
and rock should be easily feasible or the cost will increase.

4. Economically:

Benefits arising should be realistic and justified in terms

of land irrigated or power generated or floods averted or water stored.

5. Environmentally:

Seminar On Dams
The site of the dam should not involve ecological disorder (in the life of plants,
animals and man).
The fishes in the streams are also affected, so things should also be considered.
The dam and the associated reservoir should become an acceptable element of the
ecological set up of the area.


1. Geology Of The Area
The area should reveal the following:

Main topographic features

Natural drainage patterns
General characters and structures of rock formations such as their stratification ,
folding and faulting.

2. Geology Of The Site

* This is the most imp feature that must be known thoroughly at the site all around
and below the valley.
* Surface and subsurface studies using the conventional and latest techniques of
geological and geophysical investigations are carried out.
This is of great significance as it reveals what type of rocks make up that area:
igneous, sedimentary or metamorphic.

This involves detailed mapping of planes of weakness like bedding planes,
cleavage, joints, folding, fault zones
because each one of these features modifies the engineering properties of the rocks
to a great extent.
*Shear zones must be treated with caution. In some cases these may develop to
such an extent that it has to be treated by backfilling , grouting

Seminar On Dams

Dip And Strike

* The strength of the sound, unfractured stratified rocks is always greater when the

stresses are acting normal to the bedding planes than if applied in other directions.
* As such, gently upstream dipping layers offer best resistance forces in a dam.
* The most unfavorable strike direction is the one in which the beds strike parallel
to the axis of the dam and the dip is downstream.


* Faulted rocks are generally shattered along the rupture of the surfaces
* Different types of rocks can be present on either side of a fault plane. Hence it
requires a great caution in building the dam because if these faults get overlooked
then the stability of the dam gets endangered.
* Dams founded on the beds traversed by fault zones and on major fault zones are
more liable to shocks during an earthquake.
* It is, therefore, always desirable to avoid risk by rejecting sites traversed by
faults, fault zones and shear zones for dam foundation.

* The most notable effects of folds on rocks are: shattering and jointing along the

axial planes and stressing of the limbs.

* Dams aligned along axial regions of folds would be resting on most unsound
rocks in terms of strength.
* In synclinal bends dams placed on the upstream limbs would run the risk of
leakage from beneath the dam.

* No sites are free from jointing.

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* However, the detailed mapping of all the aspects and characters of jointing as
developing in the rocks of the proposed sites has to be taken up with great caution.
* Occurrence of micro joints should be dealt with great care. Because if it is left
untreated, could become a source of many risks.


1. Weight Of The Dam

In gravity dams and embankment dam the weight of the dam is the major force
acting for holding the water back on the upstream side.
The forces arising due to the weight of the dam are compressive in nature.
2. Water Pressure

The dam is required to resist horizontal forces

acting due to weight of the water impounded
on it.

This water pressure can be calculated by

hydrostatic pressure distribution.

3. Uplift Pressure

It is almost impossible to make a dam

impervious structure.
Many minute cracks and pores are left in the
dam and the foundation body.
Water is likely to find its way into these
minute openings through seepage and gradually fill them up.
It exerts an upward pressure on the body of the dam which is, in no case,

4. Earthquake Forces

The disturbance in dams is highly dangerous because they store huge volumes of

Seminar On Dams

Dams built in the areas known to be seismically active must be designed to

withstand additional forces that are likely to arise in a future shock.

5. Some Of The Additional Forces Are:

Forces developing due to vertical acceleration of the ground both in upward

anddownward direction
Forces arising due to the horizontal acceleration when the reservoir behind the
dam is empty.
Horizontal forces arising when the reservoir is full.

A spillway is a structure used to provide the controlled release of flows from a dam or
levee into a downstream area, typically being the river that was dammed. In the UK they
may be known as overflow channels. Spillways release floods so that the water does not
overtop and damage or even
destroy the dam. Except during
flood periods, water does not
normally flow over a spillway. In
contrast, an intake is a structure
used to release water on a regular
basis for water supply,
hydroelectricity generation, etc.
Floodgates and fuse plugs may be
designed into spillways to regulate
water flow and dam height. Other
uses of the term "spillway" include
bypasses of dams or outlets of a channels used during high-water, and outlet channels
carved through natural dams such as moraines.

Impact is assessed in several ways: the benefits to human society arising from the dam
(agriculture, water, damage prevention and power), harm or benefits to nature and
wildlife (especially fish and rare species), impact on the geology of an area - whether the

Seminar On Dams
change to water flow and levels will increase or decrease stability, and the disruption to
human lives (relocation, loss of archeological or cultural matters underwater).

Reservoirs held behind dams affect many ecological aspects of a river. Rivers topography
and dynamics depend on a wide range of flows whilst rivers below dams often experience
long periods of very stable flow conditions or saw tooth flow patterns caused by releases
followed by no releases. Water releases from a reservoir including that exiting a turbine
usually contains very little suspended sediment, and this in turn can lead to scouring of
river beds and loss of riverbanks. A large dam can cause the loss of entire ecospheres,
including endangered and undiscovered species in the area, and the replacement of the
original environment by a new inland lake.
Large reservoirs formed behind dams have been indicated in the contribution of seismic
activity, due to changes in water load and/or the height of the water table.

A dam is a barrier across flowing water that obstructs, directs or slows down the flow,
often creating a reservoir, lake or impoundments. Most dams have a section called a
spillway or weir over which, or through which, water flows, either intermittently or
continuously, and some have hydroelectric power generation systems installed.
Dams are considered "installations contain dangerous forces" under International
Humanitarian Law due to the massive impact of a possible destruction on the civilian
population and the environment. Dam failures are comparatively rare, but can cause
immense damage and loss of life when they occur.


Seminar On Dams
Common causes of dam failure include:
Sub-standard construction materials/techniques
Spillway design error
Geological instability caused by changes
to water levels during filling or poor
Sliding of a mountain into the reservoir
Poor maintenance, especially of outlet
Extreme inflow
Human, computer or design error
Internal erosion, especially in earthen


Seminar On Dams
Generally there are mainly the three types of dam which are selected on
the basis of need of water requirement and our basic need such as : Hydropower
Water for domestic consumption
Drought and flood control
For navigational facilities
Other additional utilization is to develop fisheries
India is a agricultural country so the basic need for the agriculture is
water and due to the reason drought in some area it is necessary built up
the dams and the selection of dams in rural areas are the earthen dams
due to the funding. Dams such as gravity or arch require high initial cost
and the construction process requires big time.
Due to some of the carelessness while the construction it hampers the
life and strength so it is necessary to study the basic concept of the dams.
Utilization of dam water also promotes the production of the


Seminar On Dams
The Design and Construction of Dams, 8th ed. (1927)
Engineering for Dams, 3 vol. (1945)
Irrigation engineering
By: - V.K.Sonarkar
By: -S.D.Nimbalkar