Special Issue "Dam Safety. Overtopping and Geostructural Risks"

A special issue of Water (ISSN 2073-4441). This special issue belongs to the section "Hydraulics and Hydrodynamics".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (15 February 2022) | Viewed by 13559

Special Issue Editors

Prof. Dr. Miguel Á. Toledo
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Departamento de Ingeniería Civil: Hidráulica, Energía y Medio Ambiente, Universidad Politécnica de Madrid, 28040 Madrid, Spain
Interests: dam safety; overtopping; spillways; dam engineering; dam hydraulics; dam protection; outlet works; dam failures; machine learning; dam monitoring; data mining; artificial intelligence
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals
Prof. Dr. Rafael Morán
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Departamento de Ingeniería Civil: Hidráulica, Energía y Medio Ambiente, Universidad Politécnica de Madrid, 28040 Madrid, Spain
Interests: dam safety; overtopping; spillways; dam engineering; dam hydraulics; dam protection; outlet works; dam failures
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Dam safety has experienced a dramatic shift in recent years. The main threats may be classified as overtopping or geostructural risks.

Overtopping is the main cause of dam failure today. The challenges are to deepen our knowledge of the conditions and processes of dam failure due to overtopping and to explore efficient solutions for reducing dams’ actual vulnerability. Research efforts have allowed the development of several software codes for characterizing the failure of earth dams. Plenty of protection types against overtopping have been developed and tested in laboratory and prototype conditions. Now, it is the time to take advantage of such a disperse experience and know-how to efficiently protect our dams against overtopping.

On the other hand, the detection of geostructural risks during the operation period of a dam has been boosted in recent years through the application of machine learning and artificial intelligence techniques to the analysis of the monitoring data.

The objective of this Special Issue is to gather the most recent and promising advances in both areas: overtopping and geostructural risks.

High-quality papers concerning research advances, case studies, and state-of-the-art reviews will be welcome. This Special Issue is open to topics such as:

  • Hydrological issues related to dam overtopping, especially the assessment of dam overtopping probability;
  • Operating strategies to avoid dam overtopping;
  • Innovative solutions for increasing the discharge flow rate capacity in existing dams, mergency spillways;
  • Dam failure conditions, processes, and failure hydrograph for both embankment and concrete dams;
  • Spillways on earth and rockfill dams, and protections against overtopping (concrete slabs, wedge shape blocks, articulated concrete blocks, rockfill toes, rip-rap, etc.);
  • Detection of anomalies of geostructural dam behavior through the analysis of monitoring data;
  • Application of data mining and artificial intelligence techniques to dam safety analysis;
  • Criteria for the assessment of emergency thresholds;
  • Application of RPAS (remotely piloted aircraft systems) and digital image treatment to dam surveillance;
  • Combined application of numerical models and data mining to the analysis of dam safety;
  • Relationship between dam risk analysis, dam failure conditions and processes, overtopping protections, and monitoring data analysis.

Prof. Dr. Miguel Á. Toledo
Prof. Dr. Rafael Morán
Guest Editors

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Keywords

  • dam
  • overtopping
  • protections
  • spillways
  • failure
  • monitoring
  • emergency thresholds
  • data mining
  • machine learning
  • artificial intelligence
  • risk analysis

Published Papers (12 papers)

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Editorial

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Editorial
Dam Safety-Overtopping and Geostructural Risks
Water 2022, 14(18), 2826; https://doi.org/10.3390/w14182826 - 11 Sep 2022
Viewed by 417
Abstract
There is a growing concern about the safety of dams and dikes in modern society [...] Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Dam Safety. Overtopping and Geostructural Risks)

Research

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Article
Failure of the Downstream Shoulder of Rockfill Dams Due to Overtopping or Throughflow
Water 2022, 14(10), 1624; https://doi.org/10.3390/w14101624 - 18 May 2022
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 735
Abstract
This paper presents the results of an extensive laboratory set of tests aimed to study the failure of the downstream shoulder of highly permeable rockfill subjected to overflow. The experimental research comprised testing 114 physical models by varying the following elements: (i) the [...] Read more.
This paper presents the results of an extensive laboratory set of tests aimed to study the failure of the downstream shoulder of highly permeable rockfill subjected to overflow. The experimental research comprised testing 114 physical models by varying the following elements: (i) the median size of the uniform gravels (7 to 45 mm); (ii) the configuration of the dam, i.e., upstream and downstream shoulders and crest or just the downstream shoulder; (iii) the dam height (from 0.2 to 1 m), (iv) the crest length (from 0.4 to 2.5 m), (v) the downstream slope (from 1 to 3.5 H:V), (vi) the type of impervious element (i.e., central core, upstream face, and no impervious element). The tests allowed us to identify two failure mechanisms, slumping and particle dragging. In addition, the downstream slope was observed to be one of the most important variables in this parametric study, as it influenced the pore water pressures inside the dam, the failure discharge, and the occurrence of one or the other mechanism of failure. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Dam Safety. Overtopping and Geostructural Risks)
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Article
Prediction of Concrete Dam Deformation through the Combination of Machine Learning Models
Water 2022, 14(7), 1133; https://doi.org/10.3390/w14071133 - 01 Apr 2022
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 849
Abstract
Dam safety monitoring is of vital importance, due to the high number of fatalities and large economic damage that a failure might imply. This, along with the evolution of artificial intelligence, has led to machine learning techniques being increasingly applied in this field. [...] Read more.
Dam safety monitoring is of vital importance, due to the high number of fatalities and large economic damage that a failure might imply. This, along with the evolution of artificial intelligence, has led to machine learning techniques being increasingly applied in this field. Many researchers have successfully trained models to predict dam behavior, but errors vary depending on the method used, meaning that the optimal model is not always the same over time. The main goal of this paper is to improve model precision by combining different models. Our research focuses on the comparison of two successful integration strategies in other areas: Stacking and Blending. The methodology was applied to the prediction of radial movements of an arch-gravity dam and was divided into two parts. First, we compared the usual method of estimating model errors and their hyperparameters, i.e., Random Cross Validation and Blocked Cross Validation. This aspect is relevant not only for the importance of robust estimates, but also because it is the source of the data sets used to train meta-learners. The second and main research topic of this paper was the comparison of combination strategies, for which two different types of tests were performed. The results obtained suggest that Blocked CV outperforms the random approach in robustness and that Stacking provides better predictions than Blending. The generalized linear meta-learners trained by the Stacking strategy achieved higher accuracy than the individual models in most cases. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Dam Safety. Overtopping and Geostructural Risks)
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Article
Influences on the Seismic Response of a Gravity Dam with Different Foundation and Reservoir Modeling Assumptions
Water 2021, 13(21), 3072; https://doi.org/10.3390/w13213072 - 02 Nov 2021
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 625
Abstract
The seismic design and dynamic analysis of high concrete gravity dams is a challenge due to the dams’ high levels of designed seismic intensity, dam height, and water pressure. In this study, the rigid, massless, and viscoelastic artificial boundary foundation models were established [...] Read more.
The seismic design and dynamic analysis of high concrete gravity dams is a challenge due to the dams’ high levels of designed seismic intensity, dam height, and water pressure. In this study, the rigid, massless, and viscoelastic artificial boundary foundation models were established to consider the effect of dam–foundation dynamic interaction on the dynamic responses of the dam. Three reservoir water simulation methods, namely, the Westergaard added mass method, and incompressible and compressible potential fluid methods, were used to account for the effect of hydrodynamic pressure on the dynamic characteristics and seismic responses of the dam. The ranges of the truncation boundary of the foundation and reservoir in numerical analysis were further investigated. The research results showed that the viscoelastic artificial boundary foundation was more efficient than the massless foundation in the simulation of the radiation damping effect of the far-field foundation. It was found that a foundation size of 3 times the dam height was the most reasonable range of the truncation boundary of the foundation. The dynamic interaction of the reservoir foundation had a significant influence on the dam stress. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Dam Safety. Overtopping and Geostructural Risks)
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Article
Fragility Curves for Slope Stability of Geogrid Reinforced River Levees
Water 2021, 13(19), 2615; https://doi.org/10.3390/w13192615 - 23 Sep 2021
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 739
Abstract
When constructing flood protection structures such as river levees, oftentimes due to various factors engineers must design composite structures, i.e., reinforced earthen structures which comply with all the stability criteria. The most common way of reinforcing such structures is the usage of geosynthetics, [...] Read more.
When constructing flood protection structures such as river levees, oftentimes due to various factors engineers must design composite structures, i.e., reinforced earthen structures which comply with all the stability criteria. The most common way of reinforcing such structures is the usage of geosynthetics, or mostly geogrids when talking about stability. Since geosynthetics are man-made materials produced in a controlled environment and go through quality control measures, their characteristics contain a negligible amount of uncertainty compared to natural soils. However, geosynthetic handling, their installation in the levee, and their long-term degradation can all have significant effects of variable magnitude on geosynthetic characteristics. These effects and their variability can be considered as random variables, which can then be used in probabilistic analyses together with soil properties. To investigate the effects of the geogrid’s resistance variability on slope stability compared to soil properties variability, probabilistic analyses are conducted on a river levee in northern Croatia. It is found that the geogrid’s variability generally has very little effect on the total uncertainty compared to the friction angle’s variability, but out of the three geogrid layers used the top grid has the most influence. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Dam Safety. Overtopping and Geostructural Risks)
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Article
Numerical Modeling of the Effects of Toe Configuration on Throughflow in Rockfill Dams
Water 2021, 13(13), 1726; https://doi.org/10.3390/w13131726 - 22 Jun 2021
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 1046
Abstract
The rockfill toe structure situated within the downstream slope of rockfill dams is an integral part of a defense mechanism safeguarding the dam structure in throughflow situations. Recent studies have concluded that the rockfill toe structure can have significant impacts on throughflow development [...] Read more.
The rockfill toe structure situated within the downstream slope of rockfill dams is an integral part of a defense mechanism safeguarding the dam structure in throughflow situations. Recent studies have concluded that the rockfill toe structure can have significant impacts on throughflow development and stability of rockfill dams under scenarios of accidental throughflow caused by overtopping of the dam core. The ability to numerically model the effect of various toe configurations on flow through rockfill dams can support the design of effective toe drainage structures for rockfill dams. Development and calibration of a reliable numerical modeling tool in this regard has been challenging owing to lack of availability of extensive datasets from physical modeling investigations. This study further employs datasets gathered by a recent physical modeling study investigating the effects of various toe configurations on throughflow development in rockfill dam models. A commercial numerical seepage modeling tool with an option for non-Darcy flow was calibrated against the datasets with good calibration metrics. The study is novel in providing a rare report on the usage of this option. The calibrated tool can further be employed to carry out a wide array of simulations to arrive at an ideal design for a toe structure for rockfill dams and for assessment of hydraulic performance of toe structures. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Dam Safety. Overtopping and Geostructural Risks)
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Article
Hydrodynamic Performance and Design Evolution of Wedge-Shaped Blocks for Dam Protection against Overtopping
Water 2021, 13(12), 1665; https://doi.org/10.3390/w13121665 - 15 Jun 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1046
Abstract
Dam safety requirements have become stronger in recent years, highlighting, among other issues, the need to increase the discharge capacity of existing spillways and the protection of embankment dams against potential overtopping, which are particularly threatened by the hydrological consequences of climate change. [...] Read more.
Dam safety requirements have become stronger in recent years, highlighting, among other issues, the need to increase the discharge capacity of existing spillways and the protection of embankment dams against potential overtopping, which are particularly threatened by the hydrological consequences of climate change. The current economic situation requires solutions that ensure the safety of these infrastructures at an affordable cost. Wedge-shaped blocks (WSBs) are one of these solutions. A more detailed understanding of the performance of WSBs was the objective of this work and, based on this, the evolution of WSB design. An extensive empirical test program was performed, registering hydrodynamic pressures on the block faces and leakage through the joints between blocks and their air vents. A new WSB (named ACUÑA) with a different design of air vents was tested in comparison to Armorwedge™, which was used as a reference case. Moreover, the hydraulic behavior of the WSB was analyzed according to the saturation state of the granular drainage layer. The ACUÑA unit was designed with air vents in the upper part of the riser where the registered negative pressures were higher. Negative pressures were also measured at the base of the block when the granular drainage layer was not fully saturated. Finally, the beneficial effect of sealing some of the joints between blocks was quantified. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Dam Safety. Overtopping and Geostructural Risks)
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Article
Energy Dissipation in Stilling Basins with Side Jets from Highly Convergent Chutes
Water 2021, 13(10), 1343; https://doi.org/10.3390/w13101343 - 12 May 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 906
Abstract
Spillways with Highly Converging Chutes (HCCs) are a non-conventional alternative that can be applied to achieve a higher outflow capacity when the weir length exceeds the width of the valley at the toe of gravity or arch dams. This kind of spillway has [...] Read more.
Spillways with Highly Converging Chutes (HCCs) are a non-conventional alternative that can be applied to achieve a higher outflow capacity when the weir length exceeds the width of the valley at the toe of gravity or arch dams. This kind of spillway has been used in the past, but no general studies have yet been published. This article summarizes experimental research work aiming to increase the knowledge of the effect of some design parameters of HCCs on the energy dissipation in the stilling basin at the toe of the dam. As a comparison reference, we use the Type I stilling basins, widely known by the technical dam engineering community. The obtained results show that spillways with HCCs are a promising alternative to traditional designs, combining the ability to increase the weir length with a high capacity to dissipate energy through the impingement effect of the frontal and the side jets inside the stilling basin. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Dam Safety. Overtopping and Geostructural Risks)
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Article
Development of Fragility Curves for Piping and Slope Stability of River Levees
Water 2021, 13(5), 738; https://doi.org/10.3390/w13050738 - 09 Mar 2021
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 1163
Abstract
The design code Eurocode 7 relies on semi-probabilistic calculation procedures, through utilization of the soil parameters obtained by in situ and laboratory tests, or by the means of transformation models. To reach a prescribed safety margin, the inherent soil parameter variability is accounted [...] Read more.
The design code Eurocode 7 relies on semi-probabilistic calculation procedures, through utilization of the soil parameters obtained by in situ and laboratory tests, or by the means of transformation models. To reach a prescribed safety margin, the inherent soil parameter variability is accounted for through the application of partial factors to either soil parameters directly or to the resistance. However, considering several sources of geotechnical uncertainty, including the inherent soil variability, measurement error and transformation uncertainty, full probabilistic analyses should be implemented to directly consider the site-specific variability. This paper presents the procedure of developing fragility curves for levee slope stability and piping as failure mechanisms that lead to larger breaches, where a direct influence of the flood event intensity on the probability of failure is calculated. A range of fragility curve sets is presented, considering the variability of levee material properties and varying durations of the flood event, thus providing crucial insight into the vulnerability of the levee exposed to rising water levels. The procedure is applied to the River Drava levee, a site which has shown a continuous trend of increased water levels in recent years. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Dam Safety. Overtopping and Geostructural Risks)
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Article
The Cross-Dike Failure Probability by Wave Overtopping over Grass-Covered and Damaged Dikes
Water 2021, 13(5), 690; https://doi.org/10.3390/w13050690 - 03 Mar 2021
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 1362
Abstract
A probabilistic framework is developed to calculate the cross-dike failure probability by overtopping waves on grass-covered dikes. The cross-dike failure probability of dike profiles including transitions and damages can be computed to find the most likely location of failure and quantify the decrease [...] Read more.
A probabilistic framework is developed to calculate the cross-dike failure probability by overtopping waves on grass-covered dikes. The cross-dike failure probability of dike profiles including transitions and damages can be computed to find the most likely location of failure and quantify the decrease in the failure probability when this location is strengthened. The erosion depth along the dike profile is calculated using probability distributions for the water level, wind speed and dike cover strength. Failure is defined as the exceedance of 20 cm erosion depth when the topsoil of the grass cover is eroded. The cross-dike failure probability shows that the landward toe is the most vulnerable location for wave overtopping. Herein, the quality of the grass cover significantly affects the failure probability up to a factor 1000. Next, the failure probability for different types of damages on the landward slope are calculated. In case of a damage where the grass cover is still intact and strong, the dike is most likely to fail at the landward toe due to high flow velocity and additional load due to the slope change. However, when the grass cover is also damaged, the probability of failure at the damage is between 4 and 125 times higher than for a regular dike profile. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Dam Safety. Overtopping and Geostructural Risks)
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Article
Discharge Flow Rate for the Initiation of Jet Flow in Sky-Jump Spillways
Water 2020, 12(6), 1814; https://doi.org/10.3390/w12061814 - 24 Jun 2020
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1235
Abstract
The sky-jump spillway is an economical and effective solution to return water to a river, eventually complemented by a pre-excavated basin. However, an inappropriate design could endanger spillways and even the dam itself. For the design of a sky-jump it is necessary to [...] Read more.
The sky-jump spillway is an economical and effective solution to return water to a river, eventually complemented by a pre-excavated basin. However, an inappropriate design could endanger spillways and even the dam itself. For the design of a sky-jump it is necessary to evaluate the position and dimensions of the potential pre-excavated basin based on the characteristics of the water flow to be evacuated and the geometric configuration of the sky-jump. The jump of the water jet occurs when a certain flow rate is reached. This flow rate for the initiation of the jet flow determines the position of the impact area closest to the spillway. We propose a new formula for the determination of the flow rate for the initiation of the jet flow, which incorporates as a novelty the influence of the curvature of the flip bucket. A methodology for the direct determination of the flow rate for the initiation of the jet flow is also presented. The new formula and methodology, based on experimental laboratory work and numerical modeling, will support the designer to choose the energy dissipation way, in the riverbed or inside the flip bucket, for low and frequent discharge flows. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Dam Safety. Overtopping and Geostructural Risks)
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Review

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Review
A Unified View of Nonlinear Resistance Formulas for Seepage Flow in Coarse Granular Media
Water 2021, 13(14), 1967; https://doi.org/10.3390/w13141967 - 17 Jul 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1323
Abstract
There are many studies on the nonlinear relationship between seepage velocity and hydraulic gradient in coarse granular materials, using different approaches and variables to define the resistance formula applicable to that type of granular media. On the basis of an analysis of the [...] Read more.
There are many studies on the nonlinear relationship between seepage velocity and hydraulic gradient in coarse granular materials, using different approaches and variables to define the resistance formula applicable to that type of granular media. On the basis of an analysis of the existing formulations developed in different studies, we propose an approach for comparing the results obtained by some of the most important studies on state-of-the-art seepage flow in coarse granular media. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Dam Safety. Overtopping and Geostructural Risks)
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