Hydraulic failures of earthen dams and embankments

  • Priyanka Talukdar
  • Arindam DeyEmail author
State-of-the-Art Paper


The problem of dam failures is of great importance as it has devastating impact upon humankind and the environment. This review highlights the hydraulic failure of earthen dams and embankments, emphasizing on the piping and overtopping phenomena. Piping failures are mostly attributed to the uncontrolled seepage or the absence of suitable zonation of materials and filters in earthen dams. The overtopping process is a complex unsteady, nonhomogeneous, nonlinear three-dimensional problem, which has not yet been methodically studied from a theoretical perspective. With the advancement of time and technology, different mathematical, analytical and numerical models, aptly supported by physical modeling, has led to the better understanding of these phenomena. Although these approaches have facilitated the evaluation of seepage and deformation in the earthen dams and embankments, still several critical issues need to be addressed. This review highlights the gap areas and possible future scopes related to the hydraulic failures of dams.


Earthen dams and embankments Hydraulic failure Piping Overtopping Seepage Filters 



The authors would like to thank the reviewers for their valuable and critical suggestions which have immensely helped in improving the clarity and quality of the manuscript.


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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Civil EngineeringIndian Institute of Technology GuwahatiGuwahatiIndia

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