Dam overtopping risk assessment considering inspection program

Jan Tai Kuo*, Yung Chia Hsu, Yeou-Koung Tung, Keh-Chia Yeh, Jian De Wu

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

28 Scopus citations


Safety inspection of large dams in Taiwan is conducted every 5 years. The practice does not take into consideration uncertainty of dam conditions. The goal of this study is to determine the optimal dam inspection interval under the consideration of overtopping risk incorporating uncertainty gate availability. In earlier studies, assessment of overtopping risk only considered the uncertainties in reservoir properties and natural randomness of hydrologic events without giving much thought to the availability of spillway gates. As a result, the overtopping risk could be underestimated. In this study, an innovative concept is proposed to evaluate dam overtopping by taking into account spillway gate availability. The framework consists of three parts: (1) evaluation of conditional overtopping risk for different numbers of malfunctioning spillway gates; (2) evaluation of spillway gate availability; and (3) dam inspection scheduling. Furthermore, considerations are given to overtopping risk, inspection cost, and dam break cost for determining the optimal inspection schedule. The methodology is applied to the Shihmen Reservoir in Taiwan and to evaluate its time-dependent overtopping risk. Results show that overtopping risk considering the availability of the spillway gates is higher than the one without considering the availability of the spillway gates.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)303-313
Number of pages11
JournalStochastic Environmental Research and Risk Assessment
Issue number3
StatePublished - 1 Apr 2008


  • Dam inspection
  • Dam safety
  • Fault tree
  • Gate availability
  • Overtopping risk


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