Testing of Outlet Works Emergency (Guard) Gates Under Unbalanced Head Conditions — Background and History

by Darrel E. Krause, Bureau of Reclamation, Denver, United States,
James C. Wadge, Bureau of Reclamation, Denver, United States,



Document Type: Proceeding Paper

Part of: Management of Irrigation and Drainage Systems: Integrated Perspectives

Abstract: The U.S. Bureau of Reclamation has responsibility for ensuring the proper operation, maintenance, and safety of over 300 dams and reservoirs throughout the 17 Western States. Storage of water for irrigation is a primary authorized purpose for many of these dams. A safe dam and reliable outlet works help ensure that the intended purposes of the dam will be fulfilled; in particular, that appropriate water releases can be made to satisfy the requirements and beneficial uses downstream of the dam. Gate and valve exercising programs have always been an integral part in assuring proper operation of the outlet works at these facilities. Historically, this has included only balanced-head exercising of the upstream emergency (guard) gates. However, in the late 1970's, to satisfy 'Safety of Dams' concerns, it was determined that a need existed to perform additional testing on the upstream emergency (guard) gates under unbalanced head conditions. The purpose of these tests would be to help ensure that these gates could be operated safely during full-flow conditions in the event of an emergency situation. This paper discusses the background and history leading up to the development of these test procedures. It explores the potential scenarios and rationale involved to support this testing. It will also discuss the analyses and retrofitting of outlet works' facilities that were needed and performed prior to the initiation of test procedures.

Subject Headings: Emergency management | History | Dam safety | Gates (hydraulic) | Rivers and streams | Rehabilitation | Valves | Water storage | North America | Western states | United States

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