The State of the Practice and Future of Dam Breach Modeling

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This course will survey dam breach analysis methods currently in use. Differences in methodology, analysis steps, assumptions, and results will be described. Specifically, the course will focus on hydrologic routing of dam breach flood waves, 1D hydraulic routing, and 2D hydraulic routing. Features of popular software will be summarized and the future of dam breach modeling will be discussed based on current trends.

Five Learning Objectives of This Course:

• An understanding of the history and evolution of dam breach modeling.

• What methods of dam breach modeling have been used in the past and why are they no longer being used?

• What are the current models being used for dam breach modeling?

• What are the differences in the current dam breach analysis methods?

• What does the future of dam breach modeling look like?

Amanda J. Hess, P.E., CFM

H&H Group Manager, Gannett Fleming, Inc.

Mrs. Amanda J. Hess is a Vice President of Gannett Fleming and the Manager of the Hydrology and Hydraulics Group in their Dams and Hydraulics Section in Camp Hill, Pennsylvania.  Amanda received her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in civil engineering from the Pennsylvania State University.  She is responsible for leading analyses for water resources projects and designing hydraulic structures.  Amanda regularly conducts seminars on hydrologic and hydraulic modeling including instruction on HEC-HMS, HEC-RAS, HEC-RAS 2D and SITES.  She serves on Value Engineering, Independent Peer Review and Potential Failure Modes Analysis Teams, provides litigation support in the areas of flooding and water supply system operation, and was a coauthor of the updated FEMA guidelines for Selecting and Accommodating Inflow Design Floods for Dams.

  • 1. Reasons for Dam Breach Modeling
    • a. Classify Hazard Potential
    • b. Establish Inflow Design Flood
    • c. Emergency Response Planning
    • d. Risk Assessment/Risk Analysis
  • 2. Factors Affecting Breach Inundation
    • a. Volume of Stored Water
    • b. Stored Energy (Head)
    • c. Reservoir shape
    • d. Downstream Terrain
    • e. Breach Parameters
    • f. Incipient failure condition
    • g. Hydrologic loading
    • h. Downstream obstructions
  • 3. Results of Interest from Breach Modeling
    • a. Maximum Inundation Extents
    • b. Flow Depth
    • c. Flow Velocity
    • d. DV
    • e. Flood Wave Arrival Time
    • f. Time to Peak
    • g. Duration of Flooding
    • h. Flow Paths
    • i. Downstream limits
  • 4. History and Evolution of Dam Breach Hydrologic Routing
    • a. Methodologies
    • b. Data Requirements
    • c. Software
    • d. Results
  • 5. 1D Hydraulic Routing
    • a. Methodology
    • b. Data Requirements
    • c. Software
    • d. Results
  • 6. 2D Hydraulic Routing
    • a. Methodology
    • b. Data Requirements
    • c. Software
    • d. Results
  • 7. Comparison of Methods
  • 8. The Future of Dam Breach Modelling


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Completion Quiz
10 Questions  |  3 attempts  |  6/10 points to pass
10 Questions  |  3 attempts  |  6/10 points to pass
Completion Certificate
2.00 PDH credits  |  Certificate available
2.00 PDH credits  |  Certificate available