Walz, Arthur H., Jr. U.S. Committee on Large Dams, Army Corps of Engineers, Washington, DC.
Last reviewed:June 2019
- Buttress dam
- Site and type selection
- Construction process
- River diversion during construction
- Operation and maintenance
- Periodic inspection and evaluation
- Related Primary Literature
- Additional Reading
A barrier or structure across a stream, river, or waterway for the purpose of confining and controlling the flow of water. Dams vary in size from small earth embankments for farm use to high, massive concrete structures for water supply, hydropower, irrigation, navigation, recreation, sedimentation control, and flood control. As such, dams are cornerstones in the water resources development of river basins. Dams are now built to serve several purposes and are therefore known as multipurpose (Fig. 1). The construction of a large dam requires the relocation of existing highways, railroads, and utilities from the river valley to elevations above the reservoir. The two principal types of dams are embankment and concrete. Additional structures of dams include spillways, outlet works, and control facilities; they may also include structures related to hydropower and other project purposes. See also: Electric power generation; Irrigation (agriculture); Reservoir; Water supply engineering
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