Safety of large hydraulic structures (dams, HPP, reservoirs)

Water infrastructure in Central Asia consists of hundreds of reservoirs, dams, irrigation systems and pumping stations, a lot of channels and tens of multi-purpose waterworks facilities. There is the world's highest rockfill dam - Nurek with height of 300 meters on the Vakhsh River in Tajikistan, and there is also one of the longest canals in the world - the Karakum-River stretching over 1,100 kilometers, which delivers to Turkmenistan about half the water received from transboundary Amudarya river used in the country.

Large dams in Central Asia play essential role in the water infrastructure. According to the classification of the International Commission on Large Dams (MKPBP) they include a dam height of 15 meters and above, and also the dam of 5 to 15 meters, forming a reservoir of at least 3 million cubic meters storage. 110 dams are classified as large among more than 1,200 ones in the region. Many of these dams are located in the transboundary river basins, such as the Amu Darya, Syr Darya, Ili, Irtysh, and have inter-state status.

Hydraulic facilities (HF) are needed for multipurpose water resources use, including drinking, industrial and agricultural water supply, irrigation and hydropower, fisheries and navigation, recreation and environmental sustainability. Central Asian hydraulic facilities, associated with development of infrastructure, bring the multilateral benefits and promote regional development.

Security of facilities should be maintained by strict adherence to rules and mode of operation, by timely preventive and overall repair, as well as by staff training. According the emergency cases in recent years in the region, control on safety of facilities and funding of operational activities are insufficient. There is evidence of decreased operational reliability of hydraulic structures, delayed assessment of their state and lack of the action plans to ensure their safety. Preventive measures to prevent accidents and emergencies on the water management structures don't get the proper development.

The knowledge base “Waterworks Safety” deals with the safe and reliable operation of hydraulic structures, as well as mutually beneficial cooperation in this field relevant for the countries of Central Asia.

Selected bibliography

Monographs and brochures

Bradlow D.D., Palmieri A., Salman, Salman M. A. - Regulatory frameworks for dam safety : a comparative study (2003) 

Dam Safety in Central Asia: Capacity-Building and Regional Cooperation (2007) 

Dam Safety Review Kosovo (2012) 

Dams Sector: Estimating Loss of Life for Dam Failure Scenarios (2011) 

Dams Sector: Estimating Economic Consequences for Dam Failure Scenarios (2011) 

Report on dam safety procedures, India (1986) 

Selecting and Accommodating Inflow Design Floods for Dams (2013) 

Strategic Framework for Dam Safety Regulation (2012) 


Fan Sh. - Hydraulic Risk of Flood Disaster Reduction at Dams (1992) 

Moser D.A. - The Use of Risk Analysis by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (2001) 

Scaletta M., Mesania F., Osterle J.P., Deible J. - Regulatory framework for dam safety- comparative assessment (2012) 

Veilleux J. - The Human Security Dimensions of Dam Development: The Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (2013) 

Advisory Documents and Guidelines

Federal Guidelines for Dam Safety. Earthquake Analyses and Design of Dams (2005) 

Federal Guidelines for Dam Safety. Emergency Action Planning for Dams (2013) 

Federal Guidelines for Dam Safety. Glossary of Terms (2014) 

Textbooks and tutorials

Training Aids for Dam Safety (TADS): A Self-Instructional Study Course in Dam Safety Practices

Component 1: Dam Safety Awareness, Organization and Implementation

Awareness 1: Dam Safety Awareness 

Awareness 2: How to Organize a Dam Safety Program 

Awareness 3: How to Organize an Operation and Maintenance Program 

Awareness 4: How to Develop and Implement an Emergency Action Plan 

Awareness 5: Identification of Visual Dam Safety Deficiencies 

Component 2. Dam Safety Inspection

Inspection 1: Preparing to Conduct a Dam Safety Inspection 

Inspection 2: Documenting and Reporting Findings from a Dam Safety Inspection 

Inspection 3: Inspection of Embankment Dams 

Inspection 4: Inspection of Concrete and Masonry Dams 

Inspection 5: Inspection of the Foundation, Abutments, and Reservoir Rim 

Inspection 6: Inspection of Spillways and Outlet Works 

Inspection 7: Inspection and Testing of Gates, Valves, and Other Mechanical Systems 

Inspection 8: Instrumentation for Embankment and Concrete Dams 

Inspection 9: Identification of Material Deficiencies 

Component 3. Data Review, Investigation and Analysis, and Remedial Action for Dam Safety

Review 1: The Dam Safety Process 

Review 2: Evaluation of Hydrologic Adequacy 

Review 3: Evaluation of Hydraulic Adequacy 

Review 4: Evaluation of Concrete Dam Stability 

Review 5: Evaluation of Embankment Dam Stability and Deformation 

Review 6: Evaluation of Seepage Conditions