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A spillway is structure constructed at dam site, effectively

disposing off the surplus water from upstream to


Just after the reservoir filled up to the normal pool level
water starts flowing over the spillway crest (which is
generally kept at normal pool level).

Depending upon the inflow rate, water will start rising
above the pool level, and at the same time it will be let off
over the spillway.
Spillways are provided for storage and detention dams to release
surplus or flood water which cannot be contained in the allotted
storage space, and diversion dams to bypass flows exceeding
those which are turned into the diversion system.

In addition to provide sufficient capacity, the spillway must be
hydraulically and structurally adequate and must be located so
that spillway discharges will not erode or undermine the
downstream toe of the dam.

The spillway's bounding surfaces must be erosion resistant to
withstand the high scouring velocities created by the drop from
the reservoir surface to tail water, and usually some device will be
required for dissipation of energy at the bottom of the drop.
The frequency of spillway use will be determined by the
runoff characteristics of the drainage flows will result
during flood and periods of sustained high runoff when the
capacities of other facilities are exceeded.

At diversion dams where storage space is limited and
diversions are relatively small compared to the normal river
flows, the spillway will be used almost constantly
It must have adequate discharge capacity.

It must he hydraulically and structurally safe.

The surface of the spillway must be erosion resistant.

The spillway must be so located that the spillway discharge does not
erode or undermine the downstream toe of the dam.

It should be provided with some device for the dissipation of excess

The spillway discharge should not exceed the safe discharge
capacity of the downstream channel to avoid its flooding.

A spillway can be located either within the body of a dam, or at
one end of it or entirely away from it, independently in a saddle.
If a deep narrow gorge with steep banks, separated from a flank
by a hillock with its level above the top of the dam, is available
the spillway can be best built independently of the dam.

Under such circumstances, a concrete or an earthen dam can be
constructed across the main valley and spillway can be
constructed independently into the saddle. Sometimes a
concrete or masonry dam along with its spillway can be
constructed in the main valley, while the flanks are closed by
earthen dikes or embankments. A separate independent spillway
is generally preferred for earthen dams, although due to non
availability of sites, a concrete spillway sometimes constructed
within or at one of the ends of an earth dams
1. Free Overfall (Straight Drop) Spillway
2. Overflow (Ogee) Spillway
3. Chute (Open Channel/Trough) Spillway
4. Side Channel Spillway
5. Shaft (Drop Inlet/Morning Glory) spillway
6. Tunnel (Conduit) spillway
7. Siphon spillway

Free Overfall Spillway

Free over fall type spillway is one in which the flow drops
This type is suited in a thin arch ,deck overflow
type dam, low concrete or masonry dam
The crest is extended in the form of an overhanging lip to
direct small discharges away from the face of the overflow
In free over
fall spillways, the underside of the nappe is ventilated
sufficiently to prevent a pulsating, fluctuating jet.

Overflow Spillway
The ogee spillway has a control weir which is ogee or S-
shaped in profile.
The upper curve of the ogee ordinarily is made to conform
closely to the profile of the lower nappe of the ventilated
sheet falling from a sharp-crested weir.
Flow over the crest is made to adhere to the face of profile
by preventing access of air to the underside of sheet.
For discharges at designed head, the flow glides over the
crest with no interference from the boundary surface and
attains near-maximum discharge efficiency.
Since the lower nappe of the free falling jet will be
different for different heads over the crest of the sharp
crested weir, the profile of the ogee weir is generally
confined to the lower nappe that would be obtained for
maximum head over the spillway (i-e up to the maximum
reservoir level).
This type of spillway can be easily used on valleys where
the width of the river is sufficient to provide the required
crest length and the river bed below can be protected
from scour at moderate costs.

Used in arch and buttress dam

Chute (Open Channel/Trough)
A spillway whose discharge is conveyed from the reservoir
to the downstream river level through an open channel,
placed either along a dam abutment or through a saddle,
might be called a chute, open channel, or through type
The chute spillway has been used with earth-fill dams.
Sometimes, even for gravity dams, a separate spillway is
required because of the narrowness of the main valley. In
all such circumstances, a chute spillway is provided.
It is lighter and adaptable to any type of foundations and
hence provided easily on earth and rock fill dams.
Chute spillways ordinarily consist of an entrance
channel, control structure, a discharge channel, a
terminal structure, and an outlet channel.
The simplest form of chute spillway has a straight
centerline and is of uniform width.
Often, either the axis of the entrance channel or that
of a discharge channel must be curved to fit
alignment to the topography

Side Channel Spillway
The side channel spillway is one in which the control weir
is placed along the side of and approximately parallel to
the upper portion of the spillway discharge channel flow
over the crest falls into the narrow trough opposite the
weir, turns an approximate right angle, and then continues
into the main discharge channel.

side channel type of spillway commonly used for earthen
and rock fill type dams

Shaft (Drop Inlet/Morning Glory)
A drop inlet or a shaft spillway also called morning
glory is a spillway in which the water enters over a
horizontally positioned lip, drops through a vertical or
sloping shaft, and then flows to the downstream river
channel through a horizontal or near horizontal
conduit or tunnel.
The structure may be considered as being made up
of three elements; namely, an overflow control weir,
a vertical transition, and a closed discharge channel.
A drop inlet spillway can be used at dam sites in
narrow canyons where the abutments rise steeply or
where a diversion tunnel or conduit is available for
use as the downstream leg.
This type of spillway may be adapted when the
possibility of an overflow spillway and a trough
spillway is ruled out because of non-availability of
space due to topography.
Used for concrete and other types of dams

Tunnel (Conduit) spillway

It is a spillway in the form of a closed channel used to
convey the discharge around or under the dam.
The closed channel may take the form of vertical or
inclined shaft, a horizontal tunnel through earth or
rock, or a conduit constructed in open cut and back
filled with earth materials.
Most form of control structures can be used with
conduit and tunnel spillways.

Ample aeration must be provided in this spillway in order
to prevent a make-and-break symphonic action which
would result if some part of the tunnel or conduit tends to
seal temporarily because of an exhaustion of air caused by
surging of the water jet, or by wave action or backwater to
guarantee free flow in the tunnel, the ratio of the flow area
to the total tunnel area is often limited to about 75%.
Air vents may be provided at critical points along the
tunnel or conduits to insure an adequate air supply which
will avoid unsteady flow through the spillway.

Siphon spillway

A siphon spillway is a closed conduit system formed in the
shape of an inverted U, positioned so that the inside of the
bend of the upper passageway is at normal reservoir
storage level.
The initial discharges of the spillway as the reservoir level
rises above normal are similar to flow over a weir. Siphon
action takes place after the air in the bend over the crest has
been exhausted.
Continuous flow is maintained bythe suction effect due to
the gravity pull of the water in the lower leg of the siphon.