Reliability Analysis of the Ancient Nezahualcoyotl's Dike: Investigating Failure Due to Overflow Using an Improved Hydrological Model

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Investigating the reliability of ancient hydraulic structures constructed without modern probabilistic criteria allows an understanding of why and how the structure fails. In this paper, we present an extended method, firstly introduced by Torres-Alves and Morales-Nápoles (2020), to perform the reliability analysis of the Nezahualcoyotl's dike that was designed (most likely) without probabilistic criteria. The dike was built around 1450 by the Aztec empire dividing Lake Texcoco from north to south (present-day Mexico City). We estimate the probability of failure due to overflow. By using a discrete time-state Markov chain and bi-variate copulas to generate large synthetic observations of the environmental variables precipitation and evaporation. In addition to the previous methodology, two sources of uncertainty were taken into account (i) the characterization of the environmental conditions during the dry season to estimate initial water levels on the lake and (ii) the influence of surface runoff and subsurface seepage losses on the water levels. The extended method allows for better characterization of the lacustrine system. Therefore an improved extent of the hydrology of the system and a more reliable estimation of the probability of failure of Nezahualcoyotl's dike are presented.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of the 33rd European Safety and Reliability Conference
EditorsMário P. Brito, Terje Aven, Piero Baraldi, Marko Čepin, Enrico Zio
PublisherResearch Publishing
Number of pages8
Publication statusPublished - 2023
EventThe 33rd European Safety and Reliability Conference (ESREL 2023): The Future od Safety in a Reconnected World - University of Southampton, Southampton, United Kingdom
Duration: 3 Sept 20237 Sept 2023


ConferenceThe 33rd European Safety and Reliability Conference (ESREL 2023)
Abbreviated titleESREL 2023
Country/TerritoryUnited Kingdom
Internet address

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  • Dike
  • copulas
  • Markov chains
  • water budget


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