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DAM OPERATION DURING EXTREME FLOODS

H. Haufe, H.-B. Horlacher, J. Stamm
Institute of Hydraulic Engineering and Technical Hydromechanics
Department of Civil Engineering
Technische Universität Dresden
Germany

ABSTRACT
In the 19th and 20th century safe drinking and industrial water supply and flood protection issues were the main reasons
for the construction of dams in the Ore Mountains of Saxony (Germany). Due to these still existing multi-purpose
requirements Saxon dams today are in the centre of various conflicts of interests. These conflicts are particularly visible
during extreme floods as those which occurred in the past. In August 2002 strong precipitation led to the excess of the
spillway design flood at numerous dams. The combination of extremely high reservoir inflows, limited outlet works
capacities and short lead times inevitably led to the rapid filling of the flood control space. Spillways started operation
and created flooding along the rivers downstream with partial catastrophic effects. Rising reservoir levels endangered
the dam crests fortunately not affecting dam safety. Since 2002 flood storage capacities were increased to reduce critical
situations in future flood events. According to new hydrological predictions rising reservoir inflows and the effect of the
ongoing climate change must be considered. Efficient reservoir operation strategies require modern outlet works at the
existing dams. Extensive reservoir routing calculations show that flood protection effects of dams can be optimised by
using additional outlets which allow the release of significant discharges right at the beginning of the flood or even
before. The paper will focus on these complex issues, considering both hydrological and structural aspects and will
present first results and recommendations for adequate reservoir operation during extreme floods and dam
modernisation in the 21st century.

INTRODUCTION AND PROBLEM
Reservoirs in the Eastern Ore Mountains and historical floods
In the 19th and 20th century safe drinking and industrial water supply and flood protection issues were the main reasons
for the construction of dams in the Ore Mountains of Saxony (Germany). Due to these still existing multi-purpose
requirements Saxon dams today are in the centre of various conflicts of interests. These conflicts are particularly visible
during extreme floods as those which occurred in the past (1897, 1927, 1957, 2002).
Flood of 2002
In August 2002 in the Eastern Ore Mountains a daily precipitation sum of 343 mm was registered (86% of the probable
maximum precipitation (PMP)). The combination of extremely high reservoir inflows, limited outlet works capacities
and short lead times inevitably led to the rapid filling of the flood control spaces. Spillways started to operate (Figure 1
& 2) and created flooding along the rivers downstream with partial catastrophic effects. In the Eastern Ore Mountains
12 people died and damage sum exceeded 1 billion Euros. Rising reservoir levels endangered the dam crests fortunately
not affecting dam safety. The public discussion about appropriate reservoir operation started immediately after the
flood. The relationship of cumulated inflow to the available flood storage capacity led to problems. Some reservoirs
were not able to reduce the flood significantly.

Figure 1: Malter Dam – Spillway operation 2002

Figure 2: Malter Dam – Reservoir flood outflow 2002

3 147 200 220 220 Lichtenberg 43 39. This depends on physical limitations of outlet works and quality of flood management.000 38. Minimisation of peak outflow and thus the highest possible flood protection are major objectives of reservoir flood operation. Of course an ideal operation is not realistic due to the mountainous character of the watershed with extreme short time of runoff formation finally reducing flood forecast options.and parallel-releases according to the German Standard DIN 19700-11 [2] are: Pre-release = water release by outlet works before spillway operation starts Parallel-release = water release by outlet works after spillway operation was started .8 HQinflow HQinflow HQoutflow Return 2002-08-13 2002-08-13 2002-08-13 period vs BHQ1 vs BHQ2 vs spillway capacity [km²] [%] [%] [%] [a] 60. The prioritisation of increased spillway capacity to guarantee dam safety against overtopping will not satisfy the expectations of people living downstream concerning risk reduction and damage minimisation. Deficits can be diagnosed by comparing the hydrological impacts to the existing discharge capacities with consideration of flood routing processes.6 250. If the IC is small the discharge from the dam dominates and in reverse the influence of the dam can become negligibly small since a large IC can generate large discharges.000 90.4 152 104 127 10. The peak outflows result however not only from the dam outflows but also from the discharges which are generated in the intermediate catchment (IC) downstream of reservoirs. At some drinking water reservoirs with typical summer thermal stratification the warm flood inflow with its polluting load was stored in an upper layer (approx.4 178 107 174 10. This factor can not be investigated separately. . Then the implementation of additional outlets has to be checked.9 219 227.6 280.000 130. Antiquated outlet works should be replaced if they are no longer able to meet operational requirements for flood releases. Depending upon size of the IC it can have a significant influence on the discharge.3 239. INVESTIGATIONS Questions Against the background of the experiences from the flood of 2002 two key questions arise. Efficient reservoir operation strategies require modern outlet works at the existing dams.000 60.000 [m³/s] [m³/s] [m³/s] [m³/s] [m³/s] Lehnmühle 94. The investigation for an optimal solution must consider different aspects (hydrology. settlements and forests.How can the safety against dam overtopping be ensured? .7 158 140 20 10.To what extent is it possible to reduce the reservoir peak outflow and therefore flood damage? Considering aspects of reservoir operation one solution might be an optimal utilisation of the existing flood control space. The flood of 2002 had also dramatic effects on the water supply by the substantial entry of suspended sediments originating from fields.4 204. Today the only solution for reservoir level draw down is the use of bottom outlets. economy). In this case high quality water has to be released. Table 1: Operating data of selected reservoirs in Saxony (2002-08-12/13) [1] Reservoir name Spillway capacity Design inflow BHQ1 HQ1. 10 m) under displacement of the existing water.5 313.Recent changes and further need for action Since 2002 flood storage capacities were increased to reduce critical situations in future flood events.4 125 130 120 Klingenberg 86 90 150 160 150 156.000 Considering the existing outlet works. it can be analysed whether these are still up-to-date and allow sufficient operational options for flood management or not. Therefore an optimisation should be achieved within the technical limitations.2 85.9 201.5 178.8 45 63 20 Malter Design inflow BHQ2 HQ10. but have to be examined in relevant combinations.5 150 110 141 10. Definitions for pre.000 Peak inflow Peak Precipitation Watershed 2002-08-13 spillway outflow 2002-08-13 [mm/48h] [mm/24h] 295.4 153 100 112 10. Nonetheless efficient operating equipment could be installed for a more effective outflow (pre. In this case a fast filling of the flood control zone up to the full reservoir level and the following spillway operation with fast discharge rise would only improve dam safety but creates new and higher threats to the downstream area causing damage to the public acceptance of dams. hydraulic. Some days later the mixture of both layers started and caused substantial problems for the water treatment.2 60 60 48 Saidenbach 98 39. According to new hydrological predictions rising reservoir inflows and the effect of the ongoing climate change must be considered.and parallel-releases). Many of the existing dams have a lack of facilities for an effective release of wasted water layers in upper reservoir zones. This rehabilitation often does not lead to a discharge increase due to the limited space available in narrow galleries or gate houses/chambers for the new installations.

Furthermore the concept of outflow operation must be differentiated (e. The discharges of the installed outlets are limited by the hydraulic capacity.g. The outlet capacity depends on the hydraulic head and dimensions. IC-generated flow is 28% of QIN and bankfull flow is 17% of HQIN. Since the pre-discharge is not the primary function of bottom outlets. often the bankfull flow (allowed) of river downstream can not be used with this operating equipment. The flood begin in this investigation is at 0 h (Figure 4). Where ΔS is the change in storage during time increment Δt. Option 1 – Pre-release starts before flood begins On the basis of reliable precipitation prognoses the time of the beginning of major reservoir releases could be shifted to the time before the flood begins. In addition the question arises at what time pre-release should start.g. In this case the reservoir water level rises rapidly. At dams with ungated spillways the rate at which water is released to the river downstream can not be controlled. circular conic section formula or analytically.option 1 Operation Peak flow reduction at the gauge to constant outflow adaptive outflow 47% 53% Minimum time to start pre-release for lowest peak flow at the gauge -10h -20h . the storage volume vs. Figure 4 and Table 2 show results of such an operation of a given reservoir with constant outflow through fictitious outlets and following unregulated spillway operation for a 1.Outflow (QOUT) = ΔS/Δt (Figure 3). prismoidal formula for trapezoidal basins. constant outflow or adaptive outflow adjustment). Flood routing Usually reservoirs with existing flood control storage have an absorbing effect on a flood. outflow (QOUT) and storage (S) are related by: Inflow (QIN) . frustum of a pyramid formula. The inflow (QIN). To determine is the type and physical characteristics of the outlet structure. The exceeding can be useful if peak outflow reduction could be achieved.Today’s operation At the beginning of a flood the outflow usually will be increased by using bottom outlets or other outlets for limitation of reservoir water levels. Both are linked by the reservoir routing equation which is based on the conservation of mass.000 year flood. A stage-discharge curve defines the relationship between the depth of water and the discharge or outflow from a storage facility and can be computed for various values of h once the physical characteristics of the weir or orifice are defined. A stage-storage curve defines the relationship between the depth of water and the associated storage volume in a storage facility and can be derived by e. At present large efforts towards an increased reliability of precipitation prognoses are undertaken so in the future better forecasts are to be expected. Valuable storage volume in the reservoir can not be cleared. Bankfull flow is the discharge at which flow from the main channel begins to spill over into the floodplain. The potential of bankfull flow could be used or even be exceeded. The gauge is downstream of IC. Figure 3: Reservoir routing Approaches If additional outlet works without limitations of discharge capacities would be available a significant pre-release would be possible. Both QIN and QOUT vary with time and are defined by inflow and outflow hydrographs. time relationship and the depth-discharge relationship. Table 2: Results of reservoir routing simulation . Finally the outflow hydrograph and the decrease of the peak discharge from HQIN to HQOUT is needed. After the filling of flood control storage volume the spillway operation causes increased releases. Usually the inflow hydrograph can be derived from a design rainfall or snowmelt model. so the inflow hydrograph curve is transformed into an outflow hydrograph curve with a reduced and deferred peak value. This equation is the basis for all possible options for action. The outflow hydrograph is not known in advance.

For low outflow rates spillway operation should be avoided.17 HQIN = QBankfull QPRE =const.28 QIN(t) QPRE = 0. 2 Full reservoir water level (Spillway operation) 0 QIN(t) -2 h [m] 0.6 0.05m) situated approx. Figure 6 right part shows for HQ100. HQ200.6 -4 -6 QOUT(t)+QIC(t) Present -20h 0h -8 -5h QOUT(t)+QIC(t) QPRE=const.000 and HQ10. This requires greater available flood control storage capacities.0 -20 -10 -18 0 t [h] 10 20 30 40 Figure 4: Option 1 – Results of reservoir routing calculations for QPRE = const = 0.8 h(t) Present 0h Normal operating water level 0.8 0.significant reduction of peak discharge .000 QIC(t) = 0. Q/HQIN 0.000 (QOUT+QIC)/HQIN 1 Start of 0 -5 Pre-10 -15 release -20 [h] 0. Then outflow values increase rapidly. Option 2 .3 0 1. vs.6 < QPRE/QBankfull < 1.1. . 0.4 QOUT(t)+QIC(t) QPRE=adapt. 14 m under operating water level and 18 m under full reservoir water level) and resulting outflow with variable flood control storage and adaptive outflow operation.0 BHQ1 = HQ1. Figure 6 left part shows the inflow hydrograph curve for HQ1.7 0. Left of the inflexion point of each graph spillway operation starts.1 1 nkfull QPRE/QBa 1.000 of a given reservoir (stage-storage-function and spillway capacity invariably with a single fictitious additional outlet (D=2.2 1.) Figure 5 shows possible peak-flow reduction at downstream gauge for different ratios QPRE/QBankfull. HQ1. Major results of a reservoir simulation for option 1 considering an IC-influence are: .4 (QPRE = const.17 HQIN BHQ1 = HQ1. Thus one of the main points of criticism that operators would not empty the reservoirs on basis of uncertain precipitation and discharge prognoses can be eliminated.early flood damages if QPRE > QBankfull (due to constant release and IC-influence) New questions would arise about the appropriateness of such a flood operation.9 1.4 Figure 5: Option 1 – Results of reservoir routing calculations for 0.000 the reservoir outflow for variable flood control storage.Pre-release starts after flood begins Comparing option 1 & 2 it can be stated that advantage of option 2 is the unnecessary head start of the flood-forecast since the water release begins with increasing reservoir inflows.2 -10 -10h 0h -5h -10h -15h -15h -12 -20h -20h -14 -16 0. QPRE =adapt.

0 Mio. m³] t [h] 0 0 0 10 20 30 40 0 2 4 6 8 10 Figure 6: Results of reservoir routing calculations for variable flood control storage FIRST RESULTS For the optimisation (minimisation) of reservoir peak outflow for any given: . CURRENT RESEARCH ACTIVITIES AND PERSPECTIVES Analytical optimisation Apart from the presented example an analytical optimisation must consider different variability: .m³ Qout FCS=4.increased time delay of the maximum water level downstream (extended emergency evacuation time.0 Mio.220 180 Qin Qout FCS=0.m³ Qout FCS=2.000 160 HQout [m³/s] 200 Q [m³/s] 220 HQ1. Outlet 2. dimensions and altitude of additional operating equipment influences its discharge function.more effective usage of flood storage capacities .0 Mio. with variable Flood Control Storage (FCS) FCS [Mio. later damage occurrence) .000 180 140 120 100 80 80 60 60 40 40 20 20 Q Bankfull HQ200 HQ10.000 Spillway + Add.m³ Qout FCS=8. 200 100 Present FCS HQ100 HQ1.m³ Qout FCS=10.reduction of reservoir peak outflow .0 Mio.Outlet 2. damage occurrence time These input-data can be partly adapted to the nature values with analytical approaches (Table 3).m³ Qout FCS=6.available flood control storage . Thus after a flood hit a reservoir water can be released from different horizons without bottom outlet operation.reduction of dam overtopping risk .05m QPRE=>adapt. .reduction of necessary flood protection investments Pre-releases as primarily water-quantity determined issue can positively affect aspects of water-quality if additional operating equipment also creates the technical possibilities for post-releases.Reservoir o inflow hydrograph o stage-storage-function o existing flood control storage .Downstream river o bankfull discharge capacity . The variability regarding number. outlets) .0 Mio.Dam o discharge functions of existing and additional operating equipment (spillways.05 m QPRE adapt.inflow hydrograph curve .Management objectives o peak outflow minimisation vs. HQout Spillway + Add.stage – storage – curve (reservoir) .bankfull discharge of downstream river (with restrictions) an optimal pre-release value (option 1 & option 2) and an optimal starting time (option 1) can be derived! Considering this fictitious possibility of an exhaustion of the pre-release deficit by efficient operating equipment the following facts arise: .m³ 160 140 120 FCS vs.0 Mio.

http://www. 2004 Sinniger. 26/1984 Kühne. H.5 1 1. 4/1978 Bollrich. 4. Geographica Helvetica.2 0 0 Stagestoragefunction 0. this investigation creates a tool which can be used as basis for the modernisation of operating equipment. That includes intakes (incl.. Schweizer Ingenieur u.Outlet = A ⋅ 2g ⋅ h2 λ ⋅L 1+ + ∑ζ d 2g ⋅ h3 λ ⋅L 1+ + ∑ζ d [5] Perspectives The analytical optimisation with consideration of risk aspects forms the emphasis of further research activities. There is good evidence of the benefits of additional mid level outlets in being able to optimise reservoir operation at the beginning of the flood and thus reducing risks.-U. read on 2008-19-05 DIN 19700 Stauanlagen . protecting people and averting severe damage downstream of dams in the 21st century. H. Hager. the operating reliability (vibrations/cavitation) as well as energy dissipation. Architekt. Verlag für Bauwesen Berlin.de.Outlet = A ⋅ QBott.Teil 11: Talsperren.8 [3] 0.5 2 T 2. Beuth-Verlag Berlin. A.: Technische Hydromechanik Band 1 Grundlagen. screens). m³] 0 0 Discharge functions 5 10 15 20 3 QSpillway 2 2 = ⋅ μ ⋅ b ⋅ 2g ⋅ h3 3 Q Add. W. On the basis of the described need for action at some Saxon dams.2492 10 [Mio.0047 b = 2.: Charakteristische Kenngrößen schweizerischer Speicherseen. Fundamental construction principles for outlet works are to be considered. The improvement of the flood protection effect of dams represents an important component for an up-to-date flood management. REFERENCES [1] [2] [3] [4] [5] Sieber. outlets.6 0.4 0.sachsen. Subsequently technical-structural aspects with special consideration of the existing dam-type are regarded (concrete/masonry gravity dam or embankment dam).smul.: Hochwasser 2002 Kurzbericht. The integration into the existing dams is a technological challenge.5 V(H) = a ⋅ Hb 40 [4] H [m] 30 real analytical 20 a = 0. G. 1996 .: Retentionsvorgänge in Speicherseen.Table 3: Input data for analytical approach Inflow hydrograph 1 qZ (T) = Tn ⋅ en(1− T) n=2 n=5 n = 10 qz 0. R. the number of vales/gates. Auflage.