Risk Analysis Applications for Dam Safety

by David A. Moser, US Army Corps of Engineers Inst for, Water Resources, Fort Belvoir, United States,

Document Type: Proceeding Paper

Part of: Waterpower '91: A New View of Hydro Resources


Dam safety modifications are intended either to reduce the likelihood of the adverse consequences of dam failure or the magnitude of adverse consequences. For instance, widening a spillway or raising the crest elevation of a dam can reduce the likelihood of overtopping and threatened failure. Alternatively, installation of a monitoring and warning system along with an emergency evacuation plan can reduce the adverse consequences if failure occurs. The methodology employed to evaluate options and investments under these circumstances is risk analysis. This paper presents the principles and issues of risk analysis as they have evolved in the evaluation of dam safety improvements. The paper also reviews some results of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers dam safety research program in applying risk analysis as well as additional applications of risk based methods to dam safety evaluations. Finally, the paper makes some recommendations for future directions for research in the application of risk analysis for dam safety decisions.

Subject Headings: Risk management | Dam safety | Dam failures | Failure analysis | Disaster warning systems | Economic factors | Spillways | Wave overtopping | United States

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