Click on “Download PDF” for the PDF version or on the title for the HTML version.

If you are not an ASABE member or if your employer has not arranged for access to the full-text, Click here for options.

WinDAM C: Analysis Tool for Predicting Breach Erosion Processes of Embankment Dams Due to Overtopping or Internal Erosion

Published by the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers, St. Joseph, Michigan

Citation:  Applied Engineering in Agriculture. 37(3): 523-534. (doi: 10.13031/aea.14334) @2021
Authors:   Sherry L. Hunt, PhD., E.I.T., Darrel M. Temple, P.E., Mitchell L. Neilsen, PhD., Abdelfatah Ali, PhD., Ronald D. Tejral, P.E.
Keywords:   Breach, Dams, Erodibility, Erosion Process, Failure, Internal erosion, Model, Overtopping, Piping.


The computational models comprising the current version of WinDAM, called WinDAM C, are summarized.

WinDAM C estimates the response of an earthen embankment subjected to overtopping or internal erosion.

WinDAM C is a model that quantifies erosion/breach processes observed in physical embankment failure tests.

Understanding the current technology and limitations provides a basis for further model development.

Abstract. Internal erosion and overtopping erosion of earthen embankments are the leading causes for earthen embankment failures. Challenges like reservoir sedimentation, structural deterioration, rodent damage or tree root growth, and changing hazard classification from low to significant or high have arisen with aging dams. To address these challenges, new technology and tools for predicting the performance of homogeneous, cohesive earthen embankments during overtopping or internal erosion are needed. Windows Dam Analysis Modules (WinDAM) is a modular software application developed through collaborative efforts of the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Agricultural Research Service (ARS), the USDA-Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), and Kansas State University (KSU) in response to this need. WinDAM uses a simple storage routing model to simulate flow through a reservoir and incorporates algorithms for predicting the progression of erosion resulting from embankment overtopping or flow through an internal discontinuity in the embankment. These algorithms are based on existing literature and data and observations from physical model experiments of homogeneous, cohesive embankments conducted by scientists at the USDA-ARS Hydraulic Engineering Research Unit in Stillwater, Oklahoma. The resulting computational model is a simplified representation of the observed process of progressive erosion that may lead to embankment breach. This paper reviews the components of the erosion/breach process and the way in which these components are quantified and integrated into the current WinDAM software, WinDAM C. The scope of application of the software, limitations, and computational assumptions are also discussed.

(Download PDF)    (Export to EndNotes)