1. Gravity dams are relatively more strong and stable than earth dams.

They are particularly suited across gorges having very steep side slopes where earth dam, if constructed, might slip. 2. Gravity dams are well adapted for use as an overflow spillway crest. Earth dams cannot be used as overflow dams. Due to this, a gravity overflow dam is often used for the spillway feature of earth arid rockfill dams. 3. Gravity dams can be constructed of any height, provided suitable foundation are available to bear the stresses. The height of an earth dam is usually limited by the stability of its slopes requring a very wide base width. Highest dams in the world are made of gravity dams only. 4. Gravity dam is specially suited to such areas where there is likelihood of very heavy downpour. The slopes of earth dam might get washed away in such a situation. 5. A gravity dam requires the least maintenance. 6. The failure of a gravity dam, if any, is not sudden. It gives enough warning time before the area to downstream side is flooded due to the damage to the gravity dams. On the contrary, an earth dam generally fails suddenly. 7. Deep-set sluices can be used in the gravity dams, to retard the sedimentation or silt deposit in the reservoir. The trap efficiency of a reservoir of an earth dam is more than that of a reservoir of gravity dam.

The balance of the water load . They are unsuitable on weak foundations or on permeable foundations on which earth dams can be constructed with suitable foundation treatment. Gravity dams require skilled labour or mechanised plants for its construction. the earth dam may be preferred. Hence. a gravity dam may take more time to construct. unless specific provisions have been made in the intial design. If mechanised plants. The disadvantages of gravity dam. Gravity dams can be constructed only on sound rock foundations. The initial cost of a gravity dam is always higher than an earth dam. Thus the benefit-cost ratio of such a dam is always higher.2) is a dam curved in plan and carries at major part of its water load horizontally to the abutments by arch action.8. 4. This part of water load depends primarily upon the amount of curvature. 2. Disadvantages. such as manufacturing and transporting mass concrete. 5. as compared to an earth dam are as follows : 1. ARCH DAMS An arch dam (Fig. where funds are limited and where suitable materials are availble for the construction of an earth dam. 7. It is very difficult to allow subsequent rise in the height of a gravity dam. curing of concrete etc. are not available. A gravity dam is cheaper in the long run since it is more permanent than any other type. 3.

Hence. Hence. uplift on the base is not an important design factor. The weight of arch dams is not counted on to assist materially in the resistance of external loads. 3. For a given height. It requires very strong abutments of soild rock capable of resisting arch thrust. therefore. Arch dams are particularly adapted to the gorges where the length is small in proportion to the height. an arch dam requires less material and is. Because of much less base width. Disadvantages of Arch Dams 1. The speed of construction is normally slow. 2. Since only a small part of water load is transferred to the foundation by cantilever action.is transferred to the foundation by cantilever action. It requires skilled labour and sophisticated form work. Advantages of Arch Dams 1. For this reason. it is not suitable in the locations . the problems of uplift pressure are minor. 3. 2. 4. The thrust developed by the water load carried by arch action essentially requires strong side walls of the canyon to resist the arch forces. an arch dam can be constructed in moderate foundations where gravity dam requiring sound foundation rock may be unsuitable. The design of an arch dam is also quite specialized. the section of an arch dam is much lesser than a corresponding gravity dam. cheaper.

The water load acts normal to the inclined deck. If the panels consist of flat slab. panels are constructed of horizontal arches or flat slabs. possesses a factor of safety much greater than that obtained in a gravity dam. Buttress Dams A buttress dam (Fig. Advantages of Buttress Dams 1.where strong abutments are not available. it is known as deck type buttress dam. . Hence. The ice pressure is relatively unimportant since the ice tends to slide over the inclined u/s deck. the foundation pressures are less in the case of a buttress dam. it is known as multipe arches type buttress dam. only few sites are suitable for this type of dam.3) consists of a number of buttresses or piers dividing the space to be dammed into a number of spans. Unfortunately. 3. Hence the vertical component of the water load stablises the dam against both overturning and sliding and the butteress dam. and it can be constructed even on weak foundations on which the gravity dam cannot be supported. To hold up water and retain the water between these buttresses.7. A buttress dam is less massive than a gravity dam. When the panels consist of arches. 2.

Depending on the degree of articulation or structural isolation provided. buttress dams may be designed to accommodate moderate amounts of foundation movement without serious damages. 5. further raising of the height is possible and convenient by extending buttress and slab as shown in fig. Power houses and water treatment plants can be housed in between buttresses. The most efficient use of strength of concrete lead to the economy in quantity required. though the financial economy . In the case of gravity dam. buttress dams are used where a future increase in reservoir capacity is contemplated. 6. However. 7. 7. the cost of construction of a buttress dam is not low in that ratio because of the increased cost of reinforcement and of form work. thus saving some cost of construction.4. However in the case of a buttress dam. Access is possible to the back of upstream face and to foundations between buttresses for periodic inspection and for subsequent grouting and drilling of pressure relief holes if required. The amount of concrete used in buttress dam is about 1/2 to 1/3 of the concrete used in gravity dam of the same height. the height of the dam can raised only by the provision of crest shutter at overflow section. 9. 8.4. Consequently.

This may lead to higher limit rates and so offset some of the saving due to reduction in the quantity of concrete. The people of areas benefited by various dams and other ancillary works on Damodar river are really thankful to those human beings who have miraculousy harnessed the Damodar river for . 2. 3. The reduction in concrete volume and increase in the surface area to volume ratio provide for better heat dissipation during construction and possibly increased speed of construction because of the larger exposed area and the thinner section do not produce a problem for cooling. Deterioration of upstream concrete surface has serious effects on buttress dams with very thin concrete face. The degree of vulnerability would probably depend upon the thickness of the upstream face and the facility for access from the downstream side. The farmers of Punjab and people getting electricity from the Bhakra sing praises for it. Disadvantages of Buttress Dams 1. Skilled labour requirements and the shuttering concrete ratio are greater than for solid dams. Buttress dam is more susceptible to willful damage. 10. Anyone who lives in Punjab or at Asansol in West Bengal . Problems in Dam Construction Dams are extremely useful things.will not necessarily be directly proportional to the quantity of concrete saved. knows how valuable dams are.

On large rivers. These eggs are fertilised by male fish. which are posed by dam constructions. after two to three years. The old fish may get exhausted and the new born fish again move downstream.them. They. . But dams can cause problems too. fish move from downstream to upstream to lay their eggs. Some of the negative features of dams and their solutions are given below. Dams have some drawbacks and disadvantages also. (1) Fish Problem (2) Submergence Problem (3) Failure Problem (4) Bomb Problem (1) Fish Problem. There are four major problems. Salmon and Hilsa are typical examples of such a fish. The fish which move to their ancestral spawning place (upstream) are called anadromous fish. These are commercially valuable fish. The cycle goes on for years. in general. in late summer season. The prosperity and welfare of millions and billions of people depend directly on these towering handsome dams with which the nation's rivers have been harnessed. and important industries are dependent on them. return to their ancestral spawning place and may die after getting exhausted. while the newborns move downstream.

and serious attempts were made to find out solution to the problem. fish were trapped on one side of the dam and passed on to the other side by giant steel and plastic nets. could leap from pool to pool until they had crested the dam. so a series of 'locks' enable the fish to get over the dam. causing great damage to fish industry and economy of the nations. Then. even when they find a barrier in their path of advancement towards their ancestral spawning ground. because it is impossible for these fish to overtop such a barrier. they go on fighting against the barrier. An external arrangement called Fish Ladder was also devised. Fish Ladder Just as river-going vessels can bypass a dam by using a navigation lock. In the beginning. it was realised. consisting of a series of little dams that form a row of pools. sea). these fish do not return to their downstream dwelling place (i. However. these fish can not move upstream to lay their eggs. they . till they get exhausted and die down. trying furiously to overtop it.e. but a little later. entering the lowest rung of the ladder at the base of the dam. rising up over the big dam to reservoir level. A separate channel is created. Sometimes. This results in a serious large scale killing of fish. much attention was not paid to this problem.When a dam barrier is constructed on a river. The salmon. But surprisingly.

A section. In the long run. the fish ladders worked better in theory than in practice. Millions and billions were spent into fish-ladder research. In such cases. other experiments are going forward to see if fish can be successfully induced to spawn in waters other than their own ancestral spawning grounds. Fish ladders are not always practicable from engineering stand point. and research is being in design made the fish ladder more attractive to fish. In the beginning. instead of entering the ladder. The new born fish called finger lings could later return to the sea (downstream) in the same fashion via the ladder. Another problem was that the slow moving water was stranger to fish and they tended to collect in the lower pools without going onward. plan and photographic view of a fish ladder has already been shown in the chapter on Weirs. Meanwhile. it may save millions of currency to construct fish hatcheries instead of fish-ladders. other steps have to be taken to protect the fish. The fish seemed to prefer to mill ground in splashing water under spillway. Improvements to.could continue on through the reservoir to the spawning grounds. more like the rapids they were accustomed . There are many possible solutions to the problem of anadromous fish. This difficulty was overcome by careful design that put the fish ladder in the place where it was most likely to attract the fish.

has to be calculated and acquired before a dam can be constructed. forming a reservoir. adequately compensated. Bhakra Dam on Satluj River in India and Boulder Dam on Colorado River in U. how furiously these rivers may try to move their foundations. Hence it is necessary to investigate the probable damage caused by this submergence. the dam give way under the continued insistent pressure of the water penned up behind them. before. the work can be taken up in hand.S. These huge structures are now properly designed. We . cannot fail in one attempt. This failure of the dam may be caused either due to bad workmanship or due to faulty design or due to the occurrence of unanticipated floods.A. The owners of the land have to be persuaded. good supervision and constant vigil and watch during maintenance period ensures their safety and makes us fairly confident of it. a large area gets submerged due to the rise in the water levels. The entire area which gets submerged.undertaken in different regions of the world to find out a better solution to the problem. (2) Submergence Problem Whenever a dam is constructed across a river to store water on the upstream side. Proper and rational design. and well settled somewhere else. (3) Failure Problem Many a times. keeping in view the various forces which they are going to face.

Thanks to the efforts of the Indian engineers who saved that dam by toiling hard day and night. were tucked in the town of Rivaldelago. Within moments. Several hundred luckier ones were saved. were quickly resurveyed to find the possibility of such a geological . Telephone poles were snapped like matchsticks. This dam gave way in December 1956. and several other dams of the same type. The Koyna Dam in India was at the verge of failure in 1968 earthquake. but were rendered homeless. 123 villages were drowned. Faulty design and bad engineering must be blamed. Dams may sometimes fail due to excessive and unanticipated earthquakes. causing 421 persons to die in floods. This was a case where a dam had simply not been built strong enough to bear the full weight of its intended reservoir. A very confident dam called Vega de Tera Dam is Spain failed in January 1959. The people.are fairly confident of this. but sometimes the confidence is rudely and cruelly repaid with tragedies. making the dam unstable and vulnerable to any serious stress. then under construction in Europe. Heavy rains wrecked it. We learnt from our mistakes. was completed in 1954. Another important dam called The Malpasset Dam. Investigations revealed that the dam had failed because the foundation rock has shifted along a thin clay seam in the left abutment. Rivaldelago was flattened. a 200 feet high arch dam on the Reyran River. The disaster caused was tremendous.

but also. Atomic war is dangerous to every aspect of living and not only to the construction of dams. but at least. it will get contaminated by radioactivity from which there could be no escape. One single atom bomb may cause the failure of Hoover Dam (Boulder Dam) or Bhakra Dam. This was very very small comfort to the relatives of those who died when Malpasset failed. So.formation. we should learn from our mistakes and there should be no such repetitions. We don't refuse riding in automobiles or aeroplanes because of the fear of accidents. But the only answer to this argument is that it would not be advisable to deprive ourselves of the benefits of big dams simply because they are hazards in war time. This is an important point which is generally stressed by opponents of big dams. or New York would also cause tremendous damage and catastrophe. especially in modern atomic age. but this does not mean that we should not develop big cities. an atom bomb dropped in Calcutta. Delhi. The resultant failure of such a dam will create catastrophes. After all. Certain risk has to be accepted if there is to be progress. we must go on building dams. (4) The Bomb Problem The dams create dangers in wars. without denying the very great damage that could be caused by atomic explosions at our dams. We need them and we must devote our .

electricity. . They are constructed in order to store water during the periods of surplus water supply. fish. The stored water may be used in different seasons and for different uses. Earthen dams. They may be further classified depending upon the specific use of this water. and R. limber dams. recreation. and anticraft guns and radars can be established at and in the vicinity of such important works. Steel dams. to be used later during the periods of deficient supply. Arch dams. They have already been explained in a previous article. (2) Classification According to Use (i) Storage Dams. water supply. Selection of the Type of Dam and Their Classifications Dams can be classified in various ways depending upon the purpose of the classification.C. so that bombs will never be able to fall.C. Rockfill dams. Hollow masonry gravity dams.energies to the cause of continued peace. such as navigation. We may also take more precautions. The use of atomic energy for peaceful purposes and a general feeling of brotherhood is the only possible way to reduce such threats. (1) Classification According to the Material used for Dam Construction The dams classified according to the material used for construction are: Solid masonry gravity dams. etc.

They are very useful as irrigation development works. the overflow dam and the non-overflow dam are combined together to form a composite single structure. This type of design gives us wider choice of materials including earth fill and rockfill dams. They detain food-waters temporarily so as to retard flood runoff and thus minimise (ii) Non-overflow Dams They are those which are not designed to be overtopped. They are often called Spillways. . A diversion dam is generally called a weir or a barrage. They are often called debris dams. (3) Classification According to Hydraulic Designs (i) Overflow Dams They are designed to pass the surplus water over their crest. Detention dams are sometimes constructed to trap sediment. in order to feed an off-taking canal and or some other conveyance systems.(ii) Diversion Dams These small dams are used to raise the river water level. (iii) The Detention Dams the bad effects of sudden flood. Many a times. They should be made of materials which will not be eroded by such discharges.

i. etc. three kinds of dams may be technically feasible. Topography dictates the first choice of the type of dam. the first baffling problem which faces us. For example: (i) A narrow U-shaped valley.. a narrow stream flowing between high rocky walls. concrete.(iii) Rigid Dams and Non-rigid Dams Rigid dams are those which are constructed of rigid materials like masonry. good soil is easily available. while non-rigid dams are constructed of earth and rock-fill. etc. would suggest a concrete overflow dam. Which type will be the most suitable and most economical? Two. which naturally calls for an earthen dam. cement and stone. steel. is to choose the kind of the dam. Sometimes. Various designs and their estimates have to be prepared before signalling one particular type. one should naturally think of a concrete gravity dam. If sand.. timber. but only one of them will be the most economical. If the material has to .e. The various factors which must be thoroughly considered before selecting one particular type are described below: (1) Topography. are easily available. Factors Governing the Selection of a Particular Type of Dam Whenever we decide to construct a dam at a particular place.

diposes of the surplus river discharge. preference should be given to concrete gravity dam. an earthfill dam may prove to be advantageous. The cost of constructing a separate spillway may be enormous or sometimes a suitable separate site for a spillway may not be available. On such rivers the spillway may become dominant structure. where excavated material from a separate spillway channel may be utilised in dam embankment. (4) Spillway Size and Location Spillway. become much more important on streams with large flood potential. then a hollow concrete dam (buttress) is a better choice. The capacity of the spillway will depend on the magnitudes of the floods to be by. as defined earlier. etc are easily available. The spillway will. . At certain places. If sand. combining the spillway and the dam into one structure may be desirable. cement and stone.passed. and the type of dam may become the secondary consideration. indicating the adoption of a concrete overflow dam. In such cases. therefore.(3) Availability of Materials The materials required for the construction must be available locally or at short distances from the construction site. If the material has to be transported from far off distances. Small spillway requirement often favours the selections of earth fill or rockfill dams even in narrow dam sites.

follows. for greater heights. (7) Other Considerations. the life of the dam. therefore. and for a given height. Various other factors such as. Overall cost of construction and maintenance and the funds available will finally decide the choice of a particular kind of a dam at a particular place. Its safety should be ensured against the increased stress induced by an earthquake of worst intensity. Hence. (2) For economy. Earthen dams are usually not provided for heights more than 30 m or so. the length of the dam should be as small as possible. If the dam is to be situated in an earthquake zone. (6) Height of the Dam. It. problem of skilled labour. Selection of Dam Site The selection of a site for constructing a dam should be governed by the following factors: (1) Suitable foundations (as determined in the previous article) must be available. gravity dams are generally preferred. legal and aesthetic point must also be considered before a final decision is taken. A . that the river valley at the dam site should be narrow but should open out upstream to provide a large basin for a reservoir. its design must include the earthquake forces. it should store the maximum volume of water.(5) Earthquake Zone. the width of the roadway to be provided over the dam. The type of structures best suited to resist earthquake shocks without danger are earthen dams and concrete gravity dams.

(5) Materials required for the construction should be easily available. This will reduce the height of the dam and will facilitate the drainage problem.1. Sometimes. If such a site-is available. the spillway can be located separately in the flank. (7) The value of land and property submerged by the proposed dam should be as low as possible. while the flanks are in' earth at low cost. in which a narrow deep gorge is separated from the flank by a hillock with its surface above the dam. the spillway and concrete masonry dam may be compositely spanned in the main gorge. 17. either locally or in the near vicinity. and the main valley spanned by an earthen or similar dam. . (4) A suitable site for the spillway should be available in the near vicinity.2. 17. If the spillway is to be combined with the dam. The stored water should not escape out through its side walls and bed. the width of the gorge should be such as to accommodate both. (6) The reservoir basin should be reasonably water-tight. (3) The general bed level at dam site should preferably be higher than that of the river basin. The best dam site is one.general configuration of contours for a suitable site is shown in Fig. so that the cost of transporting them is as low as possible. as shown in Fig.

.(8) The dam site should be easily accessible. so that it can be economically connected to important towns and cities by rails. roads. (9) Site for establishing labour colonies and a healthy environment should be available in the near vicinity. etc.