Journal of Failure Analysis and Prevention

, Volume 11, Issue 2, pp 97–109 | Cite as

A Brief Assessment of a Dam and Its Failure Prevention

  • S. Lukman
  • J. A. Otun
  • D. B. Adie
  • A. Ismail
  • I. A. Oke


Dams are artificial lakes created to reserve water for a particular purpose. Reports on failure of dams are common things nowadays. Effects of dam’s failure on man and environment are well known, which require preventive measures. This article presents a brief assessment of a dam in Nigeria and suggested necessary failure preventive measures. The dam site was visited (up and down streams), selected soil and geological properties of the dam were conducted with a particular attention to the release of water from the reservoir as seepage, or filling of the reservoir by silt from erosion. Hydrology and hydraulic data of the study area and spillway were obtained and analyzed. The study revealed that the soil is mainly sandy-loamy soil of averagely sand (73.99 ± 3.12), clay (8.53 ± 0.18), and silt (17.48 ± 1.88). Geological structure of the soil revealed that the study area is in basement complex. The reservoir capacity is 177,000,000 m3 with about 18.5-m hydraulic high, silting rate of 0.301% per year. Hydraulic conductivity, transmissivity, and specific discharge were found to be of high side of 9.31 × 10−4 m/s, 5.08 × 10−4 m2/s, and 98.25 m/year, respectively. It was concluded that the current problems of the dam are high silting rate and seepage, big trees on the embankment and beside the spillway. All these may lead to failure of the dam in the following ways: lack of water in the reservoir due to seepage and silting, eutrophication and non-potable of the water due to silting and collapse of the embankment due to the presence of big trees. It was suggested that necessary and urgent solutions such as removal of trees from embankment, desilting and seepage control must be provided for safety of lives and properties.


Dams Lives Properties Seepage Silting Leakage Embankment 

List of Symbols


Cumulative water available (m3)


Water from rainfall (inlet, m3)


Seepage (outlet, m3)


Evaporation + evapo-transpiration (outlet, m3)


Water demand for water supply (220,000 people at 80 l/capita per day; m3)


Water demand for irrigation (at 7.00 mm of water per m2 of land, m3)


Silting volume in the reservoir (outlet, m3)


American Public Health Association


Cross-sectional area (m2) = width × h


Coefficient of discharge from the weir (0.5–0.95)


Acceleration due to gravity (9.81 m/s2)


Flow/discharge from the weir (m3/s) = 2.083


Depth of the flow (m)


Runoff coefficient (0.25–1.0)


Rainfall intensity (mm/s)


Catchment area (3,000 ha)


Extraterrestrial radiation (J/m2/s), which depends on latitude and Julian day only


Mean daily air temperature (°C), giving PE in units of m/s


Density of water (taken as 1,000 kg/m3)


Latent heat flux (taken as 2.45 × 106 J/kg)


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Copyright information

© ASM International 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • S. Lukman
    • 1
  • J. A. Otun
    • 1
  • D. B. Adie
    • 1
  • A. Ismail
    • 1
  • I. A. Oke
    • 2
  1. 1.Water Resources and Environmental EngineeringAhmadu Bello UniversityZariaNigeria
  2. 2.Civil Engineering DepartmentObafemi Awolowo UniversityIle-IfeNigeria

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