There are over 15,000 dams in Canada, and over 1100 of these are considered “large” according to the CDA. In fact, some of the largest dams in the world are associated with Canadian hydroelectric and mine tailings developments. All of these dams require continuous monitoring and alarm systems. It's important to detect movement, the rate of movement, and the rate of increase of the movement in order to identify potential failure modes. Monitoring provides the information needed to support a safe working environment and efficient operations while mitigating the associated risk.
The importance of a well planned monitoring installation as an essential component of the maintenance and operation of a dam, particularly in an aging structure where early warning signs of failure may be detected, is widely accepted and in many countries, enforced by legislation.
Wall deflection, settlement, water seepage, the diurnal and seasonal changes in reservoir levels, seismic activity and the aging of the structure all affect the health of the dam. Changes in the behavioural characteristics of the structure may be indicative of impending dam failure and it is the primary goal of the monitoring system to detect such changes.
Catastrophic dam failure through the uncontrolled release of the impoundment will threaten life and property downstream. The safe functioning of a dam is an important matter of economic benefit and public safety.
Automated, real-time monitoring system
Dam safety monitoring
Periodic deformation surveys
Stability assessment in seismic areas
Long and short term analysis of structural behaviour
"With Trimble recorders, sensors and monitoring software, we now have greater confidence that we can spot any unexpected changes to the dam infrastructure and we can take steps to remediate issues to keep the dam functioning at optimal levels.
Working with Trimble’s automated, real-time geodetic GNSS monitoring data, combined with automated water level readings, has enabled us to establish a more complete and more accurate method for monitoring movement, reservoir crest levels and possible swelling of the Victoria Dam."