Types of Dam

dam is a barrier that stops or restricts the flow of water or underground streams. Reservoirs created by dams not only suppress floods but also provide water for activities such as irrigationhuman consumptionindustrial useaquaculture, and navigabilityHydro power is often used in conjunction with dams to generate electricity. A dam can also be used to collect water or for storage of water which can be evenly distributed between locations. Dams generally serve the primary purpose of retaining water, while other structures such as floodgates or levees (also known as dikes) are used to manage or prevent water flow into specific land regions.


Dams can be formed by human agency, natural causes, or even by the intervention of wildlife such as beavers. Man-made dams are typically classified according to their size (height), intended purpose or structure

  • Arch dam
  • Buttress dam
  • Gravity dam
  • Embankment dam

1. Arch dam

A concrete or masonry dam, which is curved upstream so as to transmit the major part of the water load to the abutments. Double curvature arch dam. An arch dam, which is curved vertically as well as horizontally.

2.Buttress dam

A dam consisting of a watertight part supported at intervals on the downstream side by a series of buttresses. A buttress dam can take many forms, such as a flat slab or a massive head buttress. Ambursen dam. A buttress dam in which the upstream part is a relatively thin flat slab usually made of reinforced concrete. Multiple arch dam. A buttress dam composed of a series of arches for the upstream face

3. Gravity dam

A dam constructed of concrete and/or masonry, which relies on its weight and internal strength for stability. Hollow gravity dam. A dam constructed of concrete and/or masonry on the outside but having a hollow interior relying on its weight for stability. Crib dam. A gravity dam built up of boxes, crossed timbers, or gabions filled with earth or rock. Roller-compacted concrete dam. A concrete gravity dam constructed by the use of a dry mix concrete transported by conventional construction equipment and compacted by rolling, usually with vibratory rollers.

4. Embankment dam

Any dam constructed of excavated natural materials or of industrial waste materials. Earth dam . An embankment dam in which more than 50 percent of the total volume is formed of compacted earth material generally smaller than 3-inch size. Hydraulic fill dam . An embankment dam constructed of materials, often dredged, which are conveyed and placed by suspension in flowing water. Rockfill dam. An embankment dam in which more than 50 percent of the total volume is composed of compacted or dumped cobbles, boulders, rock fragments, or quarried rock generally larger than 3-inch size.

Reference : WIKIPEDIA

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