The challange of dam maintenance
Dam monitoring is one of the most important engineering and monitoring topics of the current human society. Dams give live, drinking, and irrigation water, power for businesses and households. At the same time, they age, got cracks and overflow, and could cause great damage. Thus we need a way to monitor and log them and get analytical data to predict their aging and overflows and to get early warnings about those conditions.
As per International rivers dam statistics, there are more than 800,000 dams across the world. The average risk of a dam break is 1 in 10000. At the same time, more than 100 000 people were killed by dam breaks and more than half a million people were threatened by potential dam breaks.
Dam monitoring systems
Luckily, as dams have increased in number and age, tools for facilitating their maintenance have also increased in capability. Automated monitoring systems have become an important part of many dam maintenance programs. These systems usually consist of sensors, data loggers, and telemetry equipment that work together to measure critical parameters and provide data logging, reporting, control, and alarms.
Data can be logged over time to provide information regarding the effects of aging, earthquakes, erosion, storm events, and other variables on the overall health of the dam. Alarms and notifications can be programmed to warn engineers and population of potential failures. Most important of all, these systems provide 24/7 monitoring and allow the detection of many changes that could otherwise go unnoticed.
Common causes of dam failure include overtopping, foundation problems, structural problems, and piping (internal erosion due to seepage). With an effective monitoring program, these causes can be detected early and repaired or mitigated. Due to the number of factors involved (hydrological, geotechnical, structural, and power-related), a wide variety of measurements are required for dams. These cover everything from the structure of the dam, to the dam’s foundation, to the water in the reservoir.
- Structure of the dam—cracks and joints, tilt, inclination, stress, strain, deformation, and seepage flow
- Foundations holding the dam in place—pore pressure, slope stability, subsurface water table, regional versus local tilt measurements, and subsurface rock mass deformation
- Water in (and upstream of) the reservoir—water level and flow, rainfall
How Thingslog helps
ThingsLog offers a combined dam monitoring solution consisting of:
- Smart water monitoring for flow monitoring – for monitoring of water flow on in and out of the dams
- ThingsLog level monitoring – for preise and extremely accurate logging of water level inside the dam.
- Low power data loggers for analog measurements – for vibrating wire measurements of the dam structure and foundations
- Dam monitoring platform – for data logging, analysis, visualisation
- Thingslog mobile appp – for early warnings and notifications in case of overflow or structure problems.
Without dam monitoring and data logging, we won’t be able to get analytical insides and be warned in case of a problem.