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Tannur Dam, Jordan, Middle East - Water Technology http://www.water-technology.


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Key Data
Height 60m
Length 250m
Width at crest 12m
Reservoir capacity 17 million m³
Roller Compacted 220,000m³
Concrete (RCC)
Cost $24 million
Contract awarded February 1999
Full specifications

Some 60m high, 250m long and 12m wide at its crest, with a reservoir capacity of 17
million m³, the Tannur Dam was the first in the Middle East to be constructed with
Roller Compacted Concrete (RCC) and used a sloped layer method, not previously
seen outside of China.

The Jordanian Ministry of Water and Irrigation awarded the original contract to a Bec
Freres / Camperon Bernard joint venture in February 1999. RCC placement began in
January 2000 and between February and December, 220,000m³ were laid.
Construction was completed in 2001 and formally inaugurated by King Abdullah II of
Jordan that October. Expand Image
The Tannur Dam during
Mott Macdonald, who had been involved in the initial tender design, remained construction. (image
involved in the review, supervision and administration stages, in joint venture with courtesy of Mott McDonald)
Gutteridge, Haskins & Davey, who were themselves the RCC engineers.

The Tannur project cost was $24 million.


The Tannur Dam, sited 150km south of Amman on Wadi Hasa, forms part of the first
phase of a larger programme of works - the southern Ghors integrated development
project - delivered in two main phases between 1999 and 2002. The other major
elements of Phase I include the construction of a similar dam at Wala, a smaller water
diversion and conveyance installation, plus associated pipelines, roads and Expand Image
infrastructure. Phase II chiefly consisted of the building of another RCC dam on Wadi Mortar spreading and
Mujib, some 62m high, 660m long and 12m wide at the crest. feather edge treatment
applied to the concrete.
Other work undertaken included drilling and lining a 1.3km, 2.3m diameter tunnel, the
The Tannur Dam was the
construction of the North and South conveyors, 28km and 75km long respectively,
first in the Middle East to
building three pumping stations - in Haditha, Sammar and Fifa - and the installation of
be constructed with RCC
three transformers. The irrigation aspect of the project required nearly 1,200ha (3000
and used a sloped layer
acres) of land to be cleared and levelled, together with the provision of 35km of
method, never before seen
ductile iron pipes, 50km of PVC pipes and 300 water intakes equipped with meters and
outside of China.
pressure regulating valves. In addition, drainage and flood protection measures called
for 100km of surface drains to remove excess water, 120km of perforated PVC pipes
for the subsurface drainage and the construction of 15km of gabion bund walls to
protect the irrigated land.

By maximising and regulating the use of the affected water resources, the project is
intended to help increase agricultural production, provide employment and generate
additional income from both industry and tourism.

Jordan's national scarcity of water is widely accepted to be the single most important
limit to the country's economic growth. The current annual water use exceeds 1 billion Expand Image
m³ and with the population - nearly 5.5 million in July 2003 - increasing at a yearly Upstream view of GE-RCC
rate of 2.78%, the demand is projected to rise to over 1.3 billion m³ by 2005, having face and the 5m-high,
nearly doubled since the mid-1990s. The current annual allowance of 200m³ per 180m-long conventional
capita, lags significantly behind other countries in the region, representing 65% less concrete spillway crest
than that available in Israel and Syria and 85% less than Egypt. The southern Ghors nearing the end of
integrated development project is one of many schemes in a huge and ongoing construction.
programme of investment in the water sector aimed to address these problems.

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Tannur Dam, Jordan, Middle East - Water Technology


In the RCC approach, progressive layers of a relatively dry mix of concrete are laid,
each being compacted down in turn by rollers, allowing dams to be built much faster
and significantly cheaper than by traditional methods of construction. However,
although economic considerations and speed of construction are often major factors
in the selection of the method, this can lead to compromised quality and water-
tightness. One of the reasons for this is the structural difference between RCC dams Expand Image
and their conventionally placed concrete counterparts. The layering process involved Sketch-diagram of the
in RCC inevitably leads to the presence of a large number of horizontal joints between sloped layer method. This
the strata, since in order to maintain the necessary compaction density by roller, the approach involves building
layers are typically only 0.3m thick. In conventionally-laid and vibrated concrete the up multiple layers, laid
layer thickness is around 1.5m, which means that there will be five times fewer joints, successively to build up one
compared with a similar sized RCC dam. single super-layer sloped at
an incline of between 1:10
Consequently, the performance of RCC dams is almost wholly dependent on the and 1:20, which maximises
integrity of these horizontal joints. How well individual layers adhere to one another structural integrity.
is governed by two mechanisms - the forming of a cement bond and the penetration of
aggregate from the upper layer into the lower. Inevitably, layer joints exhibit lower
tensile strength, shear strength and impermeability than the RCC itself. At Tannur,
the potential problems this poses were addressed by using the sloped layer method.

Construction of the dam began using the traditional 'horizontal' RCC lift method until a
height of 15m had been reached, after which the sloped layer method was used. This
approach to laying RCC was first developed and adopted during the construction of
the 130m high Jiangya Dam in 1997-8 and subsequently used in a number of projects,
such as the Mianhuatan and Dachaoshan dams.
Expand Image
This method also involves building up multiple layers, again in 0.3m thicknesses, but The downstream view of
laid successively to build up one single super-layer, 1.2m thick in the case of Tannur, the dam in April 2002, with
sloped at an incline of between 1:10 and 1:20. The main advantage of this is that it the reservoir now partly
allows subsequent layers to be put in place ahead of the lower layer setting, which filled. The final reservoir
makes the RCC functionally monolithic across the joint, effectively minimising loss of capacity is 17 million m³.
structural integrity.

In addition to significantly improving joint strength, this also reduces surface

preparation, curing and surface protection, as well as allowing formwork to be
removed earlier.

Claimed to be the first dam outside of China to built using this method, Tannur
highlights a major advance in RCC construction techniques, particularly for large
structures where joint cohesion, tensile strength and speed of construction are
important considerations.

KEY PLAYERS Expand Image

The base of the Tannur Dam
Many parties have been involved in the various elements of the wider Southern Ghors during construction. (image
project, including the Government of Jordan, the Jordan Valley Authority, Water courtesy of Mott McDonald)
Authority of Jordan, Ministry of Water and Irrigation and the Irrigation Advisory

The Tannur contract was formally awarded by the Jordanian Ministry of Water and
Irrigation, the dam itself being owned by the Jordan Valley Authority. The work was
funded by the Arab Fund for Economic and Social Development and the Government
of Jordan. Design review and modifications, construction supervision and contract
administration were performed by a joint venture between Mott MacDonald and
Gutteridge, Haskins & Davey (GHD). The main contractor was a Bec Freres / Camperon
Bernard JVC with Al-Jafar as construction sub-contractor and Soletanche-Bache as
foundation sub-contractor. GHD were the roller compacted concrete engineers and Expand Image
Mott MacDonald and CEC Sadj Partners were the consultant engineers. Giovanola The 12m-wide crest of the
Freres supplied the hydromechanical equipment. Tannur Dam. (image
courtesy of Mott McDonald)

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Tannur Dam, Jordan, Middle East - Water Technology

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