A method for fast evaluation of potential consequences of dam breach

Wei Ge*, Yutie Jiao, Heqiang Sun, Zongkun Li, Hexiang Zhang, Yan Zheng, Xinyan Guo, Zhaosheng Zhang, P. H.A.J.M. van Gelder

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

23 Citations (Scopus)
56 Downloads (Pure)


Dam breach has catastrophic consequences for human lives and economy. In previous studies, empirical models are often, to a limited extent, due to the inadequacy of historical dam breach events. Physical models, which focus on simulating human behavior during floods, are not suitable for fast analysis of a large number of dams due to the complexities of many key parameters. Therefore, this paper proposes a method for fast evaluation of potential consequences of dam breach. Eight main indices, i.e., capacity of reservoir (CR), dam height (HD), population at risk (PR), economy at risk (ER), understanding of dam breach (UB), industry type (TI), warning time (TW), and building vulnerability (VB), are selected to establish an evaluation index system. A catastrophe evaluation method is introduced to establish an evaluation model for potential consequences of dam breach based on the indices which are divided into five grades according to the relevant standards and guidelines. Validation of the method by twelve historical dam breach events shows a good accuracy. The method is applied to evaluate potential consequences of dam breach of Jiangang Reservoir in Henan Province, China. It is estimated that loss of life in the worst scenario is between that of Hengjiang Reservoir and that of Shimantan Reservoir dam breach, of which fatalities are 941 and 2717, respectively, showing that risk management measures should be taken to reduce the risk of potential loss of life.

Original languageEnglish
Article number2224
JournalWater (Switzerland)
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - 2019


  • Catastrophe evaluation
  • Consequences
  • Dam breach
  • Economy
  • Life


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