Dam Break Analysis for a Series of Dams Using the HEC-1 and DAMBRK Computer Programs

by Kuen D. Tsay, Pacific Gas & Electric Co, San Francisco, United States,
Catalino B. Cecilio, Pacific Gas & Electric Co, San Francisco, United States,

Document Type: Proceeding Paper

Part of: Hydraulic Engineering


The HEC-1 and DAMBRK computer programs were developed by the US Army Corps of Engineers, Hydrologic Engineering Center (HEC) [3] and by the National Weather Service (NWS) [4], respectively. Both of these computer models were used to simulate hypothetical dam-break floods under probable maximum flood conditions for four dams located in series on the North Fork Feather River in California. The results show that both computer programs can provide reasonable results at the dam site, but some adjustments have to be made to the HEC-1 results because of its limitations. These limitations include the inability to model tailwater effects, spillway location, and sufficiently small time intervals. However, because of the time and experience required to properly use the DAMBRK computer program, consideration should be given to the use of the HEC-1 program for a preliminary simulation to determine the need to use the NWS DAMBRK program. This paper compares the two computer models, discusses the results of the example computations, and presents recommendations for optimal use of both models for dam safety evaluations.

Subject Headings: Dam failures | Computer analysis | Computer models | Failure analysis | Computer aided operations | Mathematical models | Rivers and streams | Hydrologic models | United States | California

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