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Earth Dam / Levees


Earth dam failure is an important issue engineers must consider during reservoir filling. Factors such as internal erosion and piping occurrences caused by seepage can lead to dam failure, resulting in a disaster. The initial slope stability of earth dams and levees must also be performed such that the risk of slope failures is minimized.


The complete solution for the analysis of earth dams and levees involves a number of related numerical analyses. The most prevalent of these are:

  • Slope stability analysis
  • Seepage analysis

SVSLOPE is the most comprehensive tool currently available for the analysis of levee stability. It analyzes slope stability from a stress-based or limit equilibrium approach and implements advanced features such as:

  • 3D analysis of slope stability and seepage
  • Mesh refinement to handle zones of high gradient
  • Advanced probabilistic analysis with the APEM method
  • Combined seepage and slope stability analysis possible using SVSLOPE and SVFLUX
  • Rapid drawdown by the total (Duncan 3-stage), or effective stress method
  • Most advanced representation of the upstream seepage boundary condition

Seepage analyses (SVFLUX) are an important tool for assessing the possibility of seepage failure in dams and studying hydraulic conditions for then calculating the stability of earth dams. SVSLOPE may be used to calculate the stability of levees and earth dams under unsaturated conditions, with fluctuating water tables, and under rapid drawdown scenarios. The stresses (and potential deformations) encountered in earth dams may also be modeled using the SVSOLID software. Finite element scenarios may be evaluated in 2D or 3D.

Please note that most of these models can be downloaded through our SVOffice product suite.

Additional Articles


This example shows the calculation of contaminant movement through a clay dam.

Model filename: EarthDams > ClayDamNotched_Chem.svm

Tags: EarthDams,CHEMFLUX,2D,Transient,Earth Dam / Levees,Waste Containment,Water resources management,Waste management,EarthDams



This particular model illustrates the use of ChemFlux in tracking the flow across an earth dam with a cut off located in the layer beneath it.The purpose of this numerical model is to get an idea for the movement of the contaminant underneath an earth dam structure.

Model filename: EarthDams > EarthDamCutoff.svm

Tags: EarthDams,CHEMFLUX,2D,Transient,EarthDams,Earth Dam / Levees,Waste Containment,Water resources management,Waste management



Problem creation time: 7 minutes. Movement of contaminant through an earth fill dam.

Model filename: EarthDams > EarthFillDam.svm

Tags: EarthDams,CHEMFLUX,2D,Transient,EarthDams,Earth Dam / Levees,Water resources management


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