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S(T) ÷ Spectrum coeIIicient
SDF: Spillway Design Flood
÷ Force due to sediment accumulation (lateral earth Iorce per unit width)
SRSS ÷ Square-root-oI-the-sum-oI-squares
SSF ÷ Sliding saIety Iactor
T ÷ Building natural period
÷ Fundamental vibration period oI the dam with an empty reservoir
and T
÷ Spectrum characteristic periods
tan ÷ Friction coeIIicient
÷ Period to characterize the seismic acceleration imposed to the dam (s)
U ÷ UpliIt
U ÷ UpliIt Iorce resultant normal to the inclined joint
U ÷ UpliIt pressure Iorce resultant
u ÷ Upstream
÷ UpliIt Iorce per unit width
USACE: US Army Corps oI Engineers
USBR: United States Bureau oI Reclamation
USCOLD: The United States Committee on Large Dams
USF ÷ UpliIting (Floating) SaIety Factor
v ÷ Vertical
V ÷ Vertical hydrostatic Iorce per unit width
VPGA ÷ Vertical peak ground acceleration
W ÷ Saturated weight oI the rock wedge
(y) ÷ Weight oI the dam per unit height
*, x
*, ›, x
* ÷ Design points
÷ Distance to the drain Irom the upstream Iace
y ÷ Distance below reservoir surIace
and Y
÷ Noncorrelated pair oI random variables
¦ ÷ A continuous random variable
z ÷ Standard normal variate
÷ Class oI the site classiIication
÷ Normalized basic variables
÷ Angle with respect to the horizontal oI the sliding plane
÷ Wave reIlection coeIIicient
÷ Direction cosine
÷ Reliability index
: SpeciIic weight oI water
÷ CoeIIicient oI skewness
e ÷ EIIective volumetric weight oI water
: Submerged speciIic weight oI soil
÷ Horizontal displacement
÷ Vertical displacement
÷ Constant hysteretic damping coeIIicient oI the Ioundation rock
÷ Angle oI repose
÷ Angle oI the Iace with respect to the vertical
÷ Mean value Ior Log-Normal Distribution
÷ Eigenvalues
÷ Mean value
÷ The dam damping on rigid Ioundation without reservoir interaction
÷ Variance oI Log-Normal Distribution
w ÷ volumetric mass oI water
V ÷ Sum oI vertical static Iorces excluding upliIt pressure
÷ Vertical normal base pressure
´ ÷ EIIective normal stress
÷ Maximum principal stresses associated with Iundamental vibration mode
÷ Normal compressive stress
÷ Minimal compressive stress
÷ Maximum principal stresses associated with higher vibration modes
÷ Initial maximum principal stresses due to various loads
÷ Normal bending stresses associated with higher vibration modes
÷ Initial normal stresses due to various loads
÷ Normal bending stresses associated with Iundamental vibration mode
÷ Minimum allowable compressive (normal) stress at the upstream Iace
ïòï ͽ±°» ±º ¬¸» ͬ«¼§
II there is even a very small chance oI harm, then there is risk. People have been
living in an environment where there exist various risks. Balancing a variety oI
risks that may have technological, personnel, and economic aspects, is the ultimate
concern oI an engineer in reaching the organizationŽs goals. These risks come
eventually as an organization decides to conduct a business. With lack oI
knowledge about risk or when these risks are in conIlict with societal concerns,
problems occur in risk management. When risk-based design is agreed to be
applied to a project, it is known that there is even a probability oI Iailure which is
signiIicantly small. However, with classical deterministic approach, very high
Iactor oI saIety values are assigned and this causes high costs Ior the project. That
is why the aim should be the project optimization with respect to Iailure
probability and project cost. A logical and systematic approach to analyzing
various uncertainties involved in design and analysis is provided by the concepts
and methodologies oI risk-based design procedures.
According to ICOLD (1998), 'Risk is the measure oI the probability and severity
oI an adverse eIIect to liIe, health, property or the environmentŒ. Both the
probability oI occurrence oI an event and the magnitude oI the resulting events are
involved. The term hazard shows the existence oI a threat, whereas risk implies
both the existence oI a threat and its occurrence potential; so a threat (hazard) may
exist with no risk implied. Risk occurs iI a treatment pathway exists i.e. there must
be some exposure pathway to people or the environment Ior a threat to be
meaningIul. In this sense, the level oI exposure can be related to the likelihood
(probability) oI occurrence and the magnitude oI consequences oI an event (Rowe,
AIter over a decade oI research by many scientists, the philosophy behind risk-
based design oI hydraulic structures is beginning to be accepted and applied in real
liIe design practices (Albertson and Kia, 1989). In this thesis, the details oI a risk-
based design oI concrete gravity dams will be given in light oI the explanations oI
the risk components and methods oIIered by researchers including the guidelines
oI diIIerent countries and organizations. A case study will be introduced by using a
recently developed soItware, CADAM (Leclerc et al., 2004) to assess the saIety
level oI an existing dam. This program can also be used in the reliability-based
design oI a concrete gravity dam by perIorming quick successive test runs to
account Ior the eIIects oI various geometric properties and loading possibilities.
ïòî η­µ Ó¿²¿¹»³»²¬
Risk management is the systematic application oI management policies,
procedures and practices to the task oI identiIying, analyzing, assessing, treating,
and monitoring risk (ICOLD, 1999).
A decision must be reached aIter the risk inIormation is gained and the criteria Ior
risk evaluation are known. Consultations with stakeholders and community,
insurance issues, legal deIensibility oI decisions, risk inIormation to decision-
maker and to the public, clariIication oI the role oI decision maker and
documentation oI the decision and its rational imposing a discipline that is helpIul
to sound decision making can be good actions to be taken to support the decision
ReIerring to the Iramework Ior risk management given in Figure 1.1, the risk
management process is divided into two categories: assessing the risk and
controlling it. The risk assessment process involves risk analysis consisting oI
hazard identiIication and risk estimation; and risk evaluation comparing it with
limits oI acceptability and tolerance. The risk control process consists oI the
determination oI the risk-related decisions (decision-making) and veriIying the
validity oI the components on which the decisions are based (monitoring). When
all these are combined, risk management Iramework is Iormed and speciIications
involving remedial actions may be needed as a result.
Figure 1.1 Framework Ior Risk Management (CSA, 1991).
ïòîòï η­µ ß­­»­­³»²¬ Ю±½»­­
Risk assessment can be useIul to determine the types oI problems and the
corresponding solution approaches. The term 'risk assessmentΠis used to describe
the total process oI risk analysis, which includes both the determination oI levels
oI risk and social evaluation oI risks. Risk determination, in turn, consists oI both
identiIying and estimating the likelihood and magnitude oI their occurrence
(Rowe, 1981). In risk assessment, it is decided whether the existing risks are
tolerable and measures oI risk control are adequate and iI not, whether measures oI
alternative risk control are needed Ior the time being (Figure 1.2).
Risk assessment involves making judgments about the taking oI risk and all parties
must recognize that the adverse consequences might materialize and owners will
be required to deal eIIectively with the consequences oI the Iailure event (ICOLD,
Figure 1.2 Risk Assessment (ICOLD, 1999).
Hazard identiIication
and deIinition
SaIety management
Failure mode
Range oI Iailure
Range oI
Risk estimation
How saIe is the dam?
Guidance on risk-
based decisions
How saIe should the dam be?
Is the dam assessed
saIe enough?
Large diIIerences oI risk assessment concepts may be observed in project
implementations depending on the social, cultural and institutional habits; that is
why the use oI risk is either promoted or limited. In the Netherlands, risk concepts
are legally adapted and recognized in connection with Ilood control and dikes.
Some other countries (Switzerland, France, Great Britain) stay with conventional
procedures Ior dam saIety concepts which are based on well proved standards.
Others (Canada, Australia, US, Norway) have some examples oI applications on
risk basis, but they proceed in a very complex way (Rettemeier et al., 2002).
In a risk assessment process, there are Iour major steps (Figure 1.3) which are as
Iollows: 1) risk identiIication, 2) risk estimation, 3) risk evaluation, and 4) risk
treatment. In Figure 1.3, the term, risk treatment, reIers to the consideration oI risk
treatment (reduction) alternatives using risk analysis and risk assessment.
Implementation oI risk treatment is part oI risk management (Bowles et al., 1998).
ïòîòïòï η­µ ß²¿´§­·­
Risk analysis involves both risk identiIication and risk estimation (Iirst two rows
in Figure 1.3). Risk identiIication is the process oI recognizing the reasonable
Iailure modes iI the dam were subjected to each type oI initiating event. Failure
modes are represented in an event tree, which becomes the risk analysis model.
ïòîòïòïòï ͬ»°­ ·² η­µ ß²¿´§­·­
The Iollowing steps need to be executed (Megill, 1984):
1) Gathering data. One oI the initial things wanted to be discovered is how
much is not known.
2) Isolation oI the key variables. Past experience may have to be a key.
Some variables may not be known until sensitivity analyses are run.
3) QuantiIication oI the key variables. Triangular distributions are
recommended Ior uncertain variables with many possible answers. For
exploratory problems, the important signiIicance oI lognormality
should be considered.
4) Concepts oI uncertainty should be put in at the variable level, not at the
Iinal answer level.
5) Entering input into whatever model that is used.
6) Checking the answer Ior reality; protecting available credibility.
7) Expressing the Iinal answer in the Iorm oI a cumulative Irequency
distribution. This approach will not let one Iall victim to the single-
answer syndrome. In a very uncertain investment (one with many
possible outcomes), the probability oI a single value being the answer is
near zero.
In the US, a document on the saIety oI existing dams has been issued by the
Committee on the saIety oI existing dams oI the National Research Council (NRC,
1983). It describes the steps involved in the most common Iormat oI a risk
assessment as:
1. IdentiIication oI the events or sequences oI events that can lead to dam
Iailure and evaluation oI their (relative) likelihood oI occurrence.
2. IdentiIication oI the potential modes oI Iailure that might result Irom the
adverse initiating events.
3. Evaluation oI the likelihood that a particular mode oI dam Iailure will
occur given a particular level oI loading.
4. Determination oI the consequence oI Iailure Ior each potential Iailure
5. Calculation oI the risk costs, i.e. the summation oI expected losses
(economic and social) Irom potential dam Iailure.
ïòîòïòïòî ˲½»®¬¿·²¬·»­
'Uncertainty is a general concept that reIlects our lack oI sureness about
something or someone, ranging Irom just short oI complete sureness to an almost
complete lack oI conviction about an outcomeΠ(NRC, 2000).
There are many diIIerent types oI uncertainty but the majority oI it can be
conveniently categorized under two simple headings (Figure 1.4):
i natural variability
i knowledge uncertainty
When carrying out an uncertainty analysis, uncertainties Irom a variety oI diIIerent
sources will be needed to be combined as a requirement. Depending on the
circumstances and speciIic uncertainties, this procedure can range Irom a
straightIorward calculation to more complex computations. Uncertainties may be
estimated with reIerence to past data or Iormally quantiIied using experience and
Uncertainty analysis provides estimates oI uncertainty distributions Ior selected
risk analysis outputs, such as probability oI Iailure, probability oI liIe loss,
annualized incremental liIe loss, and risk cost. This is useIul compared with using
only best estimate inputs in a deterministic approach or sensitivity analyses
(Bowles and Chauhan, 2003).
In considering risk and reliability oI hydraulic structure design, the Iirst item is to
delineate uncertainty and other related terms because oI various opinions and
connotations among authorized people. The uncertainty oI a water resource system
is an indeterministic characteristic and is beyond the rigid controls. In design oI
hydraulic structures, decisions must be made under all kinds oI uncertainty.
Figure 1.4 Sources oI Uncertainty (Morris and Sayers, 2002).
The classiIication oI hydraulic uncertainties Ior hydraulic structure design may be
divided into several types: 1) model; 2) construction and material; and
3) operational conditions oI the Ilow. The model uncertainty results Irom the use
oI a certain hydraulic model to describe Ilow conditions which is essentially an
ͱ«®½»­ ±º ˲½»®¬¿·²¬§
Õ²±©´»¼¹» ˲½»®¬¿·²¬§ Š reIers to
the state oI knowledge oI a system
and the ability to measure and
model it
Ò¿¬«®¿´ Ê¿®·¿¾·´·¬§ Š reIers to
the randomness observed in
Temporal variations in natural
Iorces are well known and, in
general it is not possible to
reduce the uncertainty related to
the temporal natural variability
oI the environment.
ͬ¿¬·­¬·½¿´ ײº»®»²½» ˲½»®¬¿·²¬§ Š
reIers to the uncertainty resulting
Irom the need to extrapolate short
data sets to provide more extreme
ͬ¿¬·­¬·½¿´ Ó±¼»´ ˲½»®¬¿·²¬§ Š
reIers to the uncertainty that results
Irom the selection oI a particular
statistical model to extrapolate a
particular set oI data.
Ю±½»­­ Ó±¼»´ ˲½»®¬¿·²¬§ Š
describes the uncertainty associated
with using a process model based on
incomplete process knowledge or
data to represent reality.
Ü»½·­·±² ˲½»®¬¿·²¬§ Š describes
the strength oI belieI in the decision
made and its robustness.
Spatial variations in ground
conditions, deIence condition
and sediment size are well
known uncertainties that need
to be managed within the risk
analysis process.
uncertainty in design discharges. The construction and material uncertainties
result, apart Irom the structure size, manuIacturer's tolerances or construction
tolerances varying widely, Irom the misalignment oI a hydraulic structure, material
variability causing variations in the size and distribution oI the surIace roughness,
etc. (Tung and Mays, 1980).
ïòîòïòî η­µ Û­¬·³¿¬·±²
In risk estimation, loading, system response, Iinal probabilities, and the
consequences oI various dam Iailure and no-Iailure scenarios are determined, so
that an estimation oI various consequences can be made. These resulting estimates
are then applied to the various branches oI the event-tree model. Risk reduction
alternatives are developed and analyzed in a similar manner Ior the proposed
structure, by changing various inputs (e.g. system response probabilities and
consequences) to represent the improved perIormance oI each alternative. The
outcome oI this step is a calculation oI the risk oI Iailure. Fault-trees and event-
trees are helpIul in risk estimation (Slunga, 2001).
ïòîòïòí η­µ Ûª¿´«¿¬·±²
II the dam perIormance is continuously observed, this will help to identiIy any
deIect that may cause damage. AIter observing the perIormance oI existing dams,
important inIormation can be obtained about the causes and eIIects oI these
deIiciencies and what preventative measures are needed to be taken (Yenigün and
Yıldız, 2001). Damages observed in large dams throughout the world, as reported
in the literature, are shown in Table 1.1. Various studies on the perIormance oI
dams have identiIied the risk Iactors. These Iactors are Iound to be inadequate
Ioundation, inadequate spillway, weak construction, irregular settlement, high
vacuum pressure, eIIects oI war, landslides, deIective materials, incorrect
operations, and earthquakes (Table 1.2).
Table 1.1 Damages Observed in Large Dams throughout the World (Uzel, 1991).
The number oI large
dam damages
BeIore 1900
1900 Š 1909
1910 Š 1919
1920 Š 1929
1930 Š 1939
1940 Š 1949
1950 Š 1959
1960 Š 1965
Unknown dates
Once risks have been identiIied and quantiIied Ior an existing dam, they are
evaluated against risk-based criteria. Risk evaluation is the process oI examining
and judging the signiIicance oI risk. The risk evaluation stage is the point at which
values (societal, regulatory, legal and owners) and judgments join in the decision
process. Consideration oI the importance oI the estimated risks and the social,
environmental and economic consequences should be included, so that
identiIication oI alternatives Ior managing the risks can be done (Bowles et al.,
Table 1.2 The Causes oI Failure oI Dams (Uzel, 1991).
Causes oI Iailure Percentage (°)
Foundation problems
Inadequate spillway
Poor construction
Uneven settlement
High pore pressure
Acts oI war
Embankment slips
DeIective materials
Incorrect operation
ïòîòïòíòï η­µ ß½½»°¬¿²½»
Risk acceptance is an inIormed decision to accept the likelihood and the
consequences oI a particular risk (ICOLD, 1999). Risk reduction evaluation joins
in the risk acceptance, so that the decision oI what residual risk will be accepted
Ior the aIIected community and structures can be made preliminarily. In some
countries, there is a certain risk level that is deIined as the limit oI unacceptable
Individual Risk can be deIined as the total increment oI risk that a dam causes.
That is why the risks in all Iailure modes and scenarios need to be combined to
obtain the overall risk. ANCOLD (1994) proposed that individual risk is the
average individual risk over the population at risk, or as the individual risk Ior the
person at the highest risk which is the value that really matters. The Individual
Risk Criteria according to ANCOLD are (ANCOLD, 1998):
- Limit value oI average Individual Risk: 10
per annum
- Limit value oI Individual Risk Ior person at the highest risk: 10
per annum
- Objective value oI average Individual Risk: 10
per annum
- Objective value oI Individual Risk Ior person at the highest risk: 10
per annum
ANCOLD (1994) states that Ior existing dams individual risks can be up to 10
times higher than Ior new dams because oI the higher risk reduction costs Ior
existing dams. The ALARP (As Low As Reasonably Practicable) principle is also
applied to individual risk evaluations (Slunga, 2001).
Societal Risk is the annual risk oI an event that will result in a number oI deaths
equal to or greater than a given number and the aim is to take account Ior the
aversion oI the society to disasters that involve multiple Iatalities. According to
ANCOLD Guidelines (1994), two Ieatures oI societal risk criteria are as Iollows:
- they are concerned only with the number oI lives lost, and not with the
identities oI the people involved, and
- they are event based. Thus each individual dam Iailure scenario is
considered separately in judging whether a dam complies.
For what societal risk is concerned, British Columbia Hydro and the US Bureau oI
Reclamation tolerate the loss oI 0.001 lives per year per dam (Darbre, 1998). Other
agencies account Ior aversion, i.e. Iew accidents with a large death toll have a
greater impact on society than many accidents with a low death toll (the total
number oI deaths being equal). Figure 1.5 shows the Irequency-Iatality curves Ior
societal risks Ior dams.
Figure 1.5 Curves oI I-N in DiIIerent Countries (Darbre, 1999; ANCOLD, 1998;
Rettemeier, 2001) (Source: Yanmaz and Günindi, 2004).
One oI the biggest diIIiculties lies in risk acceptance. The economic,
environmental, and cultural losses have to be taken into account. However, the loss
oI liIe is a very important issue and the acceptance depends not only on society but
also on population (Figure 1.6).
Australia and Canada have poorly populated areas where dams might not always
impose a risk to the population whereas Germany is densely populated. That is
why the loss oI liIe is an issue Ior almost every dam in Germany.
Germany (TL)
Germany (AL)
Switzerland (TL)
Switzerland (AL)
ANCOLD 1998 (TL)
1 10 100 1000
Number oI Iatalities, N
TL: Tolerable Limit
AL: Acceptable Limit
Figure 1.6 Risk Acceptance Criteria (ANCOLD, 1998; Ri ler, 1998; and
Rettemeier et al., 2002).
ïòîòïòì η­µ Ì®»¿¬³»²¬
From a business or management perspective, risk treatment options can be
grouped into the Iollowing categories, although they are 'not necessarily mutually
exclusive or appropriate in all circumstancesΠ(AS/NZS, 1995):
i Avoid the risk Š this is choice which can be made beIore a dam is built or
perhaps through decommissioning an existing dam.
i Reduce (prevent) the probability oI occurrence Š typically through
structural measures or dam saIety management activities, such as
monitoring and surveillance and periodic inspections.
i Reduce (mitigate) the consequences Š Ior example by eIIective early
warning systems oI relocating exposed populations at risk.
i TransIer the risk Š Ior example by contractual arrangements or transIer oI
an asset.
i Retain (accept) the risk Š aIter risks have been reduced or transIerred,
residual risks are retained and may require risk Iinancing.
Bowles et al. (1997) state that 'Practical dam saIety management is intrinsically
risk managementŒ. The report, 'Whither Civil Engineering?Œ, Irom the U.K.
Institution oI Civil Engineers (1996) states that, 'Risk cannot be eliminated;
thereIore it must be managedŒ. Risk assessment and risk management can be
important improvements to traditional dam engineering approaches. II the goal is
to avoid the dam Iailures and to reduce risk as soon as possible and with optimum
cost, then dam saIety risk assessment and risk management have a key role in
modern dam saIety programs.
It is impossible to quantiIy the overall saIety oI a dam. However, the approach to
achieve maximum dam saIety is well understood Irom viewpoints oI design,
construction, operation, and maintenance. ThereIore, the most important
prerequisite Ior dam saIety is the proIessional competence oI people associated
with the dam over its liIe span. Because oI the undetected deIiciencies, a dam that
is observed and stated as saIe may still Iail. Dam saIety must take precedence over
all other considerations (NRC, 1985). ThereIore, the concepts have been
continuously developed through time Ior better understanding and Ior more logical
approaches to the design oI dams.
îòï Ø·­¬±®§ ±º Ü¿³ Í¿º»¬§
The starting point oI dam saIety risk assessment and management can be traced
Irom the available technical procedures and philosophies oI dam engineering and
risk assessment which have been developed through time and have become a basis
Ior new approaches.
The history oI dam saIety covers a much shorter time span than the construction oI
dams. In United States, only a limited number oI states had any type oI law
regulating dam saIety prior to 1900. CaliIornia initiated a dam saIety program
Iollowing the Iailure oI the St. Frances Dam in 1928. Failures oI the BuIIalo Creek
Dam in West Virginia and the Canyon Lake Dam in South Dakota in 1972
contributed to Congress passing "The National Dam Inspection Act" in 1972.
Failure oI Teton Dam in Idaho in 1976 was Iollowed by "The Reclamation SaIety
oI Dams Act" in 1977. Failure oI the Laurel Run Dam in Pennsylvania and the
Kelly Barnes Dam in Georgia in 1977 set in action the development oI the
"Federal Guidelines Ior Dam SaIety" issued in 1979 by the Federal Coordinating
Council Ior Science, Engineering, and Technology (FCCSET). In 1979, President
Carter created the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and directed
Iederal agencies to adopt and implement the Federal Guidelines Ior Dam SaIety
and report their progress to FEMA on a biennial basis. In 1980, the Interagency
Committee on Dam SaIety (ICODS) was Iormed to coordinate Iederal activities
and work with the states to ensure implementation oI dam saIety practices. The
Corps oI Engineers is the Department oI DeIense representative on ICODS. In
1984, the Association oI State Dam SaIety OIIicials (ASDSO) was organized to
provide a Iorum Ior the exchange oI inIormation and ideas on dam saIety and to
Ioster interstate cooperation. Nongovernmental agencies actively dealing with dam
saIety include the International Commission on Large Dams (ICOLD) and its
United States aIIiliate, the United States Committee on Large Dams (USCOLD)
and the Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI) (USACE, 1996).
îòî Í¿º»¬§ ݱ²½»°¬­
îòîòï Ý´¿­­·½¿´ Í¿º»¬§ ݱ²½»°¬­ Š Ü»ª»´±°³»²¬ ±º ¬¸» Í©·­­ ݱ²½»°¬
The saIety concepts oI large technical systems, such as dams have changed
through time. New experiences should be gained and as the Iirst aim is to always
provide the best possible protection Ior the population in case oI Iailure, authorized
people should be qualiIied in their jobs. 1980 is selected as reIerence year Ior
Switzerland, as the Federal Department oI Transport, Communications and Energy
is chosen to be in charge oI the supervision oI dam saIety instead oI the Federal
Department oI Home AIIairs (Biedermann, 1997).
The dam and its environment are subjected to external and internal solicitations
(actions). These solicitations are the loads commonly considered in a structural
analysis. In hydraulics context, these are the water Ilowing into the reservoir. The
dam reacts to them (reactions). This is oIten expressed in terms oI deIormation and
stress (mechanics) or outIlow (hydraulics). The environment largely gets aIIected
because oI the reactions oI the dam (consequences). These consequences can be
beneIicial or adverse (Darbre, 1998).
The ultimate goal oI the concept is to keep the possible adverse consequences
caused by the operation oI a dam to a level that is as low as reasonably Ieasible.
However, risk management is not mentioned in the concept, although it provides
the ideal Iramework under which to reach this goal.
îòîòïòï Þ¿­·½ °®·²½·°´»­
As basic principles, it is recalled that
- only those dams, which endanger lives in case oI Iailure, are subjected to
the relevant regulations, as will continue to be the case in the Iuture, and
that, consequently,
- the same saIety requirements apply to all jurisdictional dams, i.e. no classes
oI risk are considered
and this is based on all peopleŽs being entitled to the same level oI protection
against a potential hazard and to the same level oI emergency preparedness,
independently oI the size oI the reservoir (Biedermann, 1997).
îòîòïòî Í©·­­ Í¿º»¬§ ݱ²½»°¬ Ì»²»¬­
Structural saIety and monitoring were the two basic tenets oI dam saIety beIore the
reIerence year 1980. This has become legal in 1985. In this year, a 3
tenet is
brought by the revision oI the executive decree, the emergency concept (Figure
2.1). This came Irom the reIlection that, aside Irom the optimal minimization oI
the risk (requirement 1), the possible remaining risk must also be considered
(requirement 2 in Figure 2.1).
Figure 2.1 Swiss SaIety Concept (Biedermann, 1997).
S a I e t y
Appropriate design Dedicated checks
oI risk
Mastering oI
remaining risk
best possible
requirement 1 requirement 2
Not directly explained in the Swiss saIety concept and added in the Figure 2.2 is
the aspect oI maintenance that is closely related to monitoring. Its purpose is to
ensure proper Iunctioning oI the dam components and oI its monitoring system.
Figure 2.2 SaIety Assessment Ior Dams: Physical Process and Swiss Concept
(Darbre, 1998).
îòîòïòîòï ͬ®«½¬«®¿´ Í¿º»¬§
The optimal minimization oI the risk (requirement 1) calls Ior an appropriate
design oI the dam, and this is Ior all possible loading and operational conditions,
according to the most recent state oI knowledge (what may require rehabilitation
measures), as well as considering the protection measures that can be mobilized in
the case oI an emergency. For the situations oI the threats oI Ilood, earthquake,
sabotage and act oI war, the only preventive measure is the evacuation.
Consequently, the design must be based on the largest possible events at the site
when it comes to the natural hazards oI Ilood and earthquake.
In case oI Iloods, no critical damages should occur. That is why the requirement
that the water level does not rise above the danger water level Ior the largest
possible Ilood (HQ
), i.e. that it does not rise above the level at which scour
holes or erosion jeopardizing the overall stability can initiate should be satisIied.
For concrete and gate-structure dams, this level is higher than the crest (or top oI
the parapet when one that can resist the water pressure is in place). For
embankment dams, it is the crest level or some lower level iI dangerous seepage
Ilow can initiate in the crest area (Figure 2.3, bottom).
The gate mechanisms, the emergency power unit and the water level gage must
remain operational and accessible because the operating rules in case oI Ilooding
anticipate a progressive opening oI the outlets. It is thus also required that the crest
be not overtopped up to the 1000-year Ilood (HQ
) (Figure 2.3, top).
At the design stage, it is assumed that the reservoir is Iilled at its normal water
level. Non-critical damages are accepted so wind-induced waves can be neglected.
For embankment dams, it must Iinally be assumed that the most powerIul outlet
with gates or valves cannot be opened. For concrete and gate-structure dams, this
statement applies only to the 1000-year Ilood (Biedermann, 1997).
The dam should be designed such that it resists the largest possible earthquake,
also with Iull reservoir, and that too much water does not escape. This has to be
proved numerically, which is diIIicult. The necessity Ior a second criterion, like Ior
Iloods, is still open Ior the moment, because it is presently not possible to reliably
predict iI, Ior example, the bottom outlet can still be operated aIter a 1000-year
earthquake, condition that should be satisIied (Biedermann, 1997).
Figure 2.3 Design Criteria Ior Flood (Biedermann, 1997).
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Surveillance is made to recognize a deIiciency in structural perIormance or an
external threat as soon as possible, so that there will be suIIicient time to take
necessary measures to overcome the danger. At this end, regular checks oI the
condition and oI the behavior oI the dam as well as periodical saIety evaluations
(Figure 2.4) are needed. To obtain a complete assessment oI the condition and oI
the behavior, visual checks, measurements, and operating tests oI gates and valves
(as well as oI emergency power unit) are needed.
Figure 2.4 Elements oI Surveillance and Objectives (Biedermann, 1997).
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As mentioned earlier, the emergency concept was introduced in 1985 in con-
nection with the revision oI the executive decree as the third tenet oI the saIety
concept. Its purpose is to take all the preparatory measures that are needed to act as
well as possible when a threat to saIety is recognized (Figure 2.5).
Figure 2.5 Emergency Strategy Ior Dams (Biedermann, 1997).
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Now, the international trend is to integrate risk management in saIety concepts Ior
dams. However, the application oI this concept to dams is not yet oI standard
practice. It is rather a topic Ior research and development. Indeed, current risk
management techniques have been developed mostly with reIerence to technical
investigations continuous
assessment oI
the situation
Extraordinary event /
existing threat
technical or
Danger threshold 1
Mastering oI event
is certain
Danger threshold 2
mastering oI event is
not certain
(and military event)
increased state oI
alarm readiness
Iull state oI
alarm readiness
partial evacuation
Danger threshold 3
(partial) Iailure
probably not avoidable
or already occurred
(act oI war)
management prepared
systems, such as nuclear and aerospace which diIIer Irom dams to the extent that
the description oI natural elements are more diIIicult.
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Risk analysis is interpreted in Figure 2.6 reIerring to the physical process in Figure
2.2. The actions have a certain probability oI occurrence (inIlow oI water, water
level in reservoir, temperatures, earthquake, etc) but some may also not be
identiIied at all or not be considered (e.g. aircraIt impact). The actions are
introduced as inputs to uncertain models, leading to a probability distribution oI
reaction values (deIormations, stresses, outIlow oI water, etc).
The impact oI these reactions on the environment, i.e. the consequences, is
obtained (energy production or interruption, Ilood control or Ilooding and
happenings aIter damages and deaths, etc). The corresponding modeling is also
uncertain. These consequences, expressed as a Iunction oI their probability oI
occurrence, are the risk components. OIten, the risk analysis will be considered to
be complete at this stage. However, the risk components oI diIIerent types can be
Iurther evaluated in a last step, integrating sociological and political aspects. The
result oI this weighted integration is the risk. It is compared to acceptability and
tolerance limits and as an outcome, the acceptance oI the state oI the dam or the
speciIication oI remedial measures is stated.
In the standard risk analysis terminology, the term hazard is used to identiIy a
condition with the potential Ior causing an undesirable consequence. This applies
to all actions as they contribute to this potential. In practice, hazard assessment
usually reIers to the assessment oI a speciIic action in probabilistic terms, usually
one that shows a strong randomness such as earthquake and Ilood (Darbre, 1998).
Figure 2.6 Physical and Analysis Processes Ior Dams (Darbre, 1998).
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High impacts oI dam Iailures cause restlessness on public and as a result, dam
saIety policies are extremely conservative. Policies Ior selection oI the spillway
design Ilood (i.e. policies Ior protection against overtopping Iailure) are generated
accordingly. For most important dams, the spillway is designed to exceed the
probable maximum Ilood (PMF), essentially a 'no riskΠpolicy. EIIicient
allocation oI Iunds Ior spillway requires a cost-beneIit approach that utilizes risk
analysis, a much better approach than a 'no riskΠpolicy (Dubler and Grigg, 1996).
There are generally prescriptive and risk-based methods Ior selecting the spillway
design Ilood (SDF). Prescriptive methods are usually stated by the authorized
agency. Risk-based methods seek to minimize the total project cost, including the
expected cost oI damages due to Iailure. As risk analysis is a cost-beneIit
approach, application oI risk analysis usually involves quantiIying the beneIits oI
saving lives which has been a major point oI claim (Dubler and Grigg, 1996).
Dams are designed to resist destruction Irom natural Iorces. Two major items oI
design consideration are the SDF and the maximum credible earthquake (MCE).
The spillway is designed to saIely transmit the Ilood Ilows so that overtopping
Iailure oI the dam is prevented. The cost oI the spillway may be a signiIicant
portion oI the cost oI the dam. As the SDF approaches the PMF, the probability oI
overtopping Iailure approaches to zero but the cost oI the spillway reaches its
maximum. In Iact, selecting the SDF as PMF may be the appropriate choice in
many instances. However, the choice oI the PMF as a 'no riskΠcriterion ignores
the economic Iacts oI liIe.
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The deterministic approach is used in traditional practice. Deterministic design
values are selected as actions. Even when a speciIic return period, and hence a
probability oI occurrence is reIerenced (this is the case Ior Ilood and Ior
earthquake), the actions are still introduced in deterministic terms (design values)
and not as probability distributions. They are structured in load combinations.
With this approach, very improbable occurrences are avoided and very likely ones
are given more weight. The reactions corresponding to the actions speciIied
previously are obtained (one set oI reactions Ior each load combination) and Ior
uncertainties, no action is taken in the models used in this step oI analysis (Darbre,
The step leading to the consequences is usually made independently oI the
previous one. Formal considerations oI the calculated reactions are not taken into
account. Failure mechanisms are postulated as reactions and damages evaluated
considering Ilood propagation and damage models. The risk is thus not calculated.
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Dam saIety community, still, could not reach to a common decision about using
risk-based approaches. For many people, in the application oI risk, it implies that
the design would be made to accept Iailure and loss oI liIe, or that risk assessment
is a way oI avoiding making expensive structural repairs to a dam. In addition,
many think that using risk entails quantitative risk assessment, a highly complex
and time-consuming analysis. Conversely, many dam saIety proIessionals believe
that using deterministic standards results in zero risk to the public. UnIortunately,
this viewpoint is based on misconceptions in the engineering community about the
Probable Maximum Precipitation (PMP) and the Maximum Credible Earthquake
(MCE). In reality, these values are estimates oI the theoretical maxima that
commonly approach, rather than meet, the theoretical upper limits (Johnson,
AIter the appearance oI risk analysis in structural saIety, the community was
widely curious about its relation to deterministic approaches. New risk-based
approaches Ior dam saIety make the standards and codes better by adding the
lacking inIormation Ior design and operation. These two should be properly
addressed in the latter. Reliability indices comply with such a uniIorm Iormat that
uncertainty can be quantiIied without weakening the request Ior uniIormity by
these indices. However, an event tree oI a risk analysis cannot. On the other hand,
reliability indices do not provide any protection against subjectivity oI decisions or
against human errors. That is why whenever non-quantiIiable Iactors enter a saIety
assessment, risk analysis is a better approximation Ior more realistic results
(Kreuzer, 2000).
The Iactor oI saIety in traditional design standards provides a conIidence level that
is widely accepted. However, uncertainty in the Iactors oI saIety is ignored which
makes the design inconsistent. A partnership between the strength oI saIety
standards and oI risk analysis is a reasonable objective, e.g. Iinite element analysis
and risk analysis Ior conIirming structural saIety oI aging eIIects. The application
oI risk analysis can then be seen as a logical extension Irom deterministic
approaches where the stochastic input is restricted to data-randomness oI geology,
hydrology, and material testing. It is a matter oI undertaking the next step to
integrate these uncertainties into a coherent probabilistic concept.
Risk analysis Iundamentally diIIers Irom traditional deterministic approaches Ior
the Iollowing reasons when dam saIety is the concern (Kreuzer, 2000):
- 'It replaces a deductive with a more inductive approach to study saIety.
Deterministic saIety analysis is a deductive process oI inIerring saIety Irom an
analytical Iramework. By contrast, risk assessment makes inductive inIerence Irom
observing a part to achieve insight into the whole.
- Risk analysis addresses decision making under uncertainty, which is Iully
integrated in the process oI a risk analysis, as compared to deterministic saIety
evaluations, where it is attached to the main analysis, e.g. as a number oI
sensitivity cases or parametric studies.
- Risk analysis replaces a limit-state analysis, leading to a deterministic saIety
statement, by a sequential path-to-Iailure process leading to a probabilistic term.
- In its result, risk analysis replaces Iixed, single-value terms by accumulated
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For important structures, the PMF (Probable Maximum Flood) is widely used as
the SDF. This is suggested as true in determination oI a PMF. However, there is a
signiIicant disagreement in combining the appropriate magnitude oI events. As a
result, there can be signiIicant diIIerences in computed Ilood peaks, volumes and
exceedence probabilities (ASCE, 1988). Other criticisms oI PMP/PMF criteria are:
1. Use oI the PMP/PMF criteria 'suggests that the ability to predict Iuture
extreme Iloods is greater than that which actually exists and leads to
unrealistic expectations on the part oI the publicΠ(Dawdy and Lettenmaier,
2. Use oI the PMP/PMF criteria may give the illusion oI absolute saIety, thus
diverting the attention Irom greater Ilood risk which oIten may result Irom
less extreme but more likely events (NRC, 1985).
3. The extremely small exceedence probability oI the PMF as a standard Ior
public saIety is not used elsewhere in society, with the possible exception
oI the nuclear industry.
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The selection oI a storm (Ilood) having desired exceedence probability is the basis
Ior probabilistic SDF criteria. There are two objections to this practice (Dubler and
Grigg, 1996):
1. Selection oI the appropriate exceedence probability is purely judgmental.
Hence no consistency is inherent in the criteria.
2. It must be recognized that (annual) exceedence probability and the length
oI the planning period (structure liIe) are directly connected. The 'chance
oI IailureΠis not equal to the selected exceedence probability.
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A guideline is a statement or other indication oI policy or procedure by which to
determine a course oI action; a rule or principle that provides guidance to
appropriate behavior describes critical decision points in assessment, diagnosis,
treatment and evaluation oI treatment. Below are some examples oI guidelines
Irom diIIerent countries.
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New guidelines Ior earthquake saIety assessment were released recently in Austria
in accordance with the ICOLD recommendations. Austrian recommendations are
summarized as basic principles which especially Iocus on concrete dam structures.
The concept oI the Operating Basis Earthquake (OBE) and the Maximum Credible
Earthquake (MCE) event is explained (Zenz et al., 1998). A working group oI the
Austrian Commission on Dams have established the guidelines Ior seismic saIety
evaluation Ior dams in 1996. These guidelines are not obligatory to be used and