Dams and Reservoirs in Karst

  • Petar Milanović


Construction of dams and reservoirs in karst is historically known as a very risky task. Inspite of very detailed geophysical investigations and repeated sealing treatments, the possibility for dam failure cannot be eliminated. In the karst environment, with its highly random distribution of dissolution features, some uncertainties always remain. The final determination of the adequacy of sealing measures comes after the first reservoir impoundment or even later. In many worldwide examples, watertightness treatment during dam construction was only partially successful, with some remedial work after impoundment being quite common. However, in some cases, the problem is simply too complicated and cannot be overcome. Special approaches have to be undertaken in order to prevent seepage from reservoirs. The key elements are a good geological map and proper geophysical investigations. These investigations are key prerequisites of dam construction in karst and cutting costs through restricting them usually results in increasing the chance of project failure. To deal with karst successfully, innovation, engineering practice, execution feasibility, and commercial understanding have to be undertaken. Grouting alone is definitely not adequate in the case of large karst conduits. Special treatment of large caverns and flexibility during grout curtain execution, including modifications and adaptations on the basis of the geological findings, should be the standard procedure for dam construction in karst to minimize risk. Such an approach is the basic worldwide rule in the fight against leakage from dam sites and reservoir abutments.


Grout Curtain Karst Conduit Reservoir Construction Reservoir Bottom Karstified Rock 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


  1. Altug S, Saticioglu Z (2001) Berke Arch Dam, Turkey: hydrogeology, karstification and treatment of limestone foundation. Technical documents in hydrogeology, vol 49. UNESCO, Paris, pp 315–323Google Scholar
  2. Arandjelović D (1976) Geophysics in the karst. Geophysical Institute, BelgradeGoogle Scholar
  3. Ballard RF, Cuenod Y, Jenni JP (1983) Detection of karst cavities by geophysical methods. Bull Eng Geol Environ 26–27(1):153–157. doi: 10.1007/BF02594210 Google Scholar
  4. Beck BF (2004) Soil piping and sinkhole failures. In: Culver DC, White WB (eds.) Encyclopedia of caves. Elsevier, Amsterdam, pp 521–526Google Scholar
  5. Bergado TD, Areepitak C, Prinzl F (1984) Foundation problems on karstic limestone formation in western Thailand. In: Beck BF (ed.) A case of Khao Laem Dam. Proceedings of the 1st multidisciplinary conference on sinkholes, Orlando, FL, pp 397–401Google Scholar
  6. Bonacci O (1978) Karst hydrogeology. Springer, BerlinGoogle Scholar
  7. Borić M (1980) The use of groundwater temperature changes in locating storage leakages in karst areas. 6th Yugoslav symposium on hydrogeology and engineering geology, Portorož, p 179Google Scholar
  8. Božović A, Budanur H, Nonveiller E et al (1981) The Keban Dam foundation on karstified limestone: a case history. Bull Int Assoc Eng Geol 24:45–51CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Bruce DA (2003) Sealing of massive water inflows through karst by grouting: principles and practice. In: Beck BF (ed.) Sinkholes and the engineering and environmental impacts of karst. Geotechnical special publication no.122. American Society of Civil Engineers, Reston, p 615Google Scholar
  10. Chengjie Z (1988) A study of geothermal field and karstic leakage in karst area. Proceedings of the IAH 21st Congress, Geological Publishing House, Beijing, p 1127Google Scholar
  11. Cooper AH, Calow RC (1998) Avoiding gypsum geohazards: guidance for planning and construction, British Geological Survey, Technical Report WC/98/5, UK NG125GGGoogle Scholar
  12. Criss EM, Criss RE, Osburn GR (2008) Effects of stress on cave passage shape in karst terranes. Rock Mech Rock Eng 41(3):499–505CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Deere DV (1976) Specific injection grout consumption. Dams and rock foundations: some design questions. Rock engineering for foundations and slopes conference II, Boulder, Colorado, p 55Google Scholar
  14. Djalaly H (1988) Remedial and watertightening works of Lar Dam. Seizieme Congres das Grandes Barages, San FranciscoGoogle Scholar
  15. Dolder T, Kreuzer H, Milanović P (2002) Salman Farsi Dam project, Report on the Design of the Grout Curtain, Electrowatt-Ekono, Jaakko Poyry Group, Zurich, unpublishedGoogle Scholar
  16. Drogue C (1985) Geothermal gradients and groundwater circulation in fissured and karstic rocks. J Geodyn 4(1–4):219–231CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Fazeli MA (2007) Construction of grout curtain in karstic environment case study: Salman Farsi Dam. Environ Geol 51:791–796. doi: 10.1007/s00254-006-0397-8 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Fetzer AC (1979) Wolf Creek Dam, engineering concepts, actions and results. Commission Internationale des Grandes Barrages, New Delhi, pp Q.59–R.5Google Scholar
  19. Ford D, Williams P (2007) Karst hydrogeology and geomorphology. Wiley, England, pp 464–469Google Scholar
  20. Giudici S (1999) Darwin Dam design and behavior of an embankment on karstic foundations. ICOLD, Antalia, pp 619–636Google Scholar
  21. Guifarro R, Flores J, Kreuzer H (1996) Francisco Morozan Dam, Honduras: the successful extension of a grout curtain in karstic limestone. Int J Hydropower Dams 5(3):38–45Google Scholar
  22. Gunay G, Arikan A, Bayari S, Ekmekci M (1985) Quantitative determination of bank storage in reservoirs constructed in karst areas: case study of Oymapinar Dam. IAHS Publication No. 161, AnkaraGoogle Scholar
  23. Gunay G, Milanović P (2007) Karst engineering studies at the Akkőprű reservoir area, southwest of Turkey. Environ Geol 51:781–785. doi: 10.1007/s00254-006-0395-x CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Gutierrez F, Desir G, Gutierrez M (2003) Causes of the catastrophic failure of an earth dam built on gypsiferous alluvium and dispersive clays (Altorricon, Huesca province, NE Spain). Environ Geol 43:842–851Google Scholar
  25. Guzina B, Sarić M, Petrović N (1991) Seepage and dissolution at foundations of a dam during the first impounding of the reservoir. Congres des Grandes Barrages, Q66 Vienne, Austria, p 1459Google Scholar
  26. Heitfeld KH (1965) Hydrogeological and engineering geological investigations on permeability of dam foundations in Sauerland. Germany Geol Mitt 5:210Google Scholar
  27. Johnson KS (2008) Gypsum-karst problems in constructing dams in the USA. Environ Geol 53(5):945–950. doi: 10.1007/s00254-007-0720-z CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Kiernan K (1988) Human impacts and management responses in the karsts of Tasmania. Resources management in limestone landscape. Special publication no. 2. Department of Geography and Oceanography, University College, The Australian Defense Force Academy, Canberra, pp 69–92Google Scholar
  29. Legchenko A, Ezersky M, Girard JF et al. (2008) Interpretation of magnetic resonance soundings in rocks with high electrical conductivity. J Appl Geophys 66(3–4):118–127Google Scholar
  30. Lu Y (1986) Some problems of subsurface reservoirs constructed in karst regions of China. Institute of Hydrogeology and Engineering Geology, BeijingGoogle Scholar
  31. Lu Y, Cooper AH (1997) Gypsum karst hazards in China. In: Beck BF, Stephenson JB (eds.) The engineering geology and hydrogeology of Karst Terranes. A. A. Balkema, Rotterdam, pp 117–126Google Scholar
  32. Milanović P (1981) Karst hydrogeology. Water Resources Publication, LittletonGoogle Scholar
  33. Milanović P (2000) Geological engineering in karst. Zebra Publishing, BelgradeGoogle Scholar
  34. Milanović P (2001) The special problems of engineering in karst. In: Gunay G (ed.) Present state and future trends in karst studies. Technical documents in hydrology 49 (1). UNESCO, Paris, p 45Google Scholar
  35. Milanović P (2004) Water resources engineering in karst. CRC, Boca RatonCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Milanović P (2006) Karst of Eastern Herzegovina and Dubrovnik Littoral. ASOS, BelgradeGoogle Scholar
  37. Milanović S (2005) Investigations of underground karst morphology in applied hydrogeology. Master thesis (in Serbian). University Belgrade, Faculty of Mining and Geology/Department of Hydrogeology, BelgradeGoogle Scholar
  38. Milanović P (2010) Aeration zone in karst – properties and investigations advances in research in karst media. Environ Earth Sci 3:423–428. doi: 10.1007/978-3-642-12486-0_65 Google Scholar
  39. Milanovic S, Stevanovic Z, Jemcov I (2010) Water losses risk assessment: an example from Carpathian karst. Environ Earth Sci 60(4):817–827. doi: 10.1007/s12665-009-0219-x CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Pavlin B (1970) Kruščica storage basin in the cavernous area, Dixieme Congres des Grandes Barages (ICOLD), Montreal, p 209Google Scholar
  41. Pearson R (1999) Geology and safety of dams, case histories in gypsum karst for Horsetooth Dam and Carter Lake Dam no.2, Colorado, Bureau of reclamation, USBR Technical Service Center D-8321, DenverGoogle Scholar
  42. Ravnik D, Rajver D (1998) The use of inverse geotherms for determining underground flow at the Ombla karst spring near Dubrovnik, Croatia. J Appl Geophys 39(3):177CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Romanov D, Gabrovšek F, Dreybrodt W (2003) Dam sites in soluble rocks: a model of increasing leakage by dissolutional widening of fractures beneath a dam. Eng Geol 70:17–35CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Sharp TM (1997) Mechanics of formation of cover collapse sinkholes. In: Beck BF, Stephenson JB (eds.) Engineering geology and hydrogeology of karst terranes. A. A. Balkema, Rotterdam, pp 29–36Google Scholar
  45. Skiba SI, Molokov LA, Dobrin EZ (1992) Khoabin Dam on Da river (Vietnam): geology and dams. M Energoatonizdat 12:101–110Google Scholar
  46. Trzhtsinsky YB (2002) Human-induced activation of gypsum karst in the southern Priangaria (East Siberia, Russia). Carbonates Evaporites 17(2):154–158. doi: 10.1007/BF03176481 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. Yuan D (1999) The construction of underground dams on subterranean streams in South China Karst. Institute of Karst Geology, Guilin, p 62Google Scholar
  48. Zoumei Z, Pinshou H (1986) Grouting of the karstic caves with clay fillings. Research Institute of Water Conservancy and Hydroelectric Power, BeijingGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.BelgradeSerbia

Personalised recommendations