New research kicks off on the performance of dams under overtopping

There is a recognition of the need to better understand performance of both flood defence and reservoir embankments in resisting erosion under overtopping. In the UK, it is planned in due course to carry out a comprehensive five year research project to include field trials to assess erodibility of grass and soil. This coincides with ICOLD setting up a technical committee on Levees, set up to build upon ongoing collaboration between similar existing committees in the US and Europe. EURCOLD is holding an International Workshop on Embankment and Concrete Dams Overflowing Erosion in France in December, with a number of representatives from the UK attending.

In the UK, a scoping stage project "Assessing the Performance of Grass and Soil in Resisting Erosion – Phase 1" has been awarded by the Environment Agency to CH2M and the University of Dundee. This scoping project has eight aims with the outputs being:

  1. Produce a state of knowledge review
  2. Scope and design an experimental testing programme to address identified gaps in knowledge

The testing programme will be designed to deliver the evidence base for update and improvement of design and operational models/tools such as the design curves in CIRIA 116 (1987). It is envisaged that the understanding arising from the testing will also support development of new tools to improve risk-based management of assets, such as defining and differentiating the onset of damage through soil erosion and catastrophic failure with release of the contained water.

An Inception meeting was held on 06 June 2017, with an industry workshop planned on 21 September 2017.

Although the project team does not currently include any Panel Engineer, the steering group includes Alan Brown, James Penman, Mark Morris, David Brown, Ian Hope and Ian Scholefield, and they would be happy to answer queries or discuss the project.

Article by the BDS representative: Alan Brown:

CH2M Project Manager:


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