Journal of Earth Sciences and Geotechnical Engineering

Dam Safety: Use of Instrumentation in Dams

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  • Abstract


    Dam safety concerns do not stop at site selection, or the design and construction stages of a dam, but continue throughout its whole life. Seeing to safety issues of any dam is done by following up its behavior through visual observation supplemented and enriched by data collection from all the devices installed on or implanted in a dam to follow its reactions to the forces and conditions in action. Analysis of the accumulated data will show the safety level and the need or, otherwise, of any remedial works. Using measuring devices to quantifying seepage conditions at any dam and correlating this with water levelsí fluctuations is the first main issue that concerns dam safety. Added to this, measurement of pore water and total earth pressure in earthfill dams, temperature measurements in concrete dams, uplift and displacement measurements, and measurements of stresses and strains can all give good pictures of what is happening inside the dam and/or its foundation in both types of dams. In the following work, a summary of typical instrumentations and monitoring used in evaluating causes of common problems is given. Moreover, requirements for good instrumentation program are explained and the methods of data collection, whether manual, or use of stand-alone loggers and real-time monitoring networks are touched upon. The various devices in current use are described in more details. Actual examples of monitoring systems in existing dams are presented to show the value and importance of these systems to the safety of these dams.


    Keywords: Dam safety, visual observation, seepage, pore water pressure, total earth pressure, uplift, temperature measurements, displacement measurements, stand-alone loggers, real-time monitoring networks.

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