Editor’s Note: Portions of this paper, “Sedimentation, Dam Safety and Hydropower: Issues, Impacts and Solutions”, were featured in the January/February 2017 issue of HRW-Hydro Review magazine. The full paper is available for download below.
While no dam has ever failed as direct result of sedimentation issues, it does impact the safety of dams. Sedimentation can alter reservoir routing, complicate the management of seasonal flood inflow, reduce spillway discharge capacity, alter reservoir ice mat formation and increase loads on the dam and components of the dam such as gates.
In this paper, sedimentation issues, as they pertain to hydropower facilities and dam safety, are explored. This paper also introduces sedimentation management techniques and describes how they can be implemented to limit the impacts of sedimentation on hydropower. Selected case studies are presented to highlight issues and issue mitigation.