Small Earth Dams

Dr Matthew Duthy, Aurecon Australasia Pty Ltd


Small earth dams are by far the most common type and size of dam in the world. While the consequences of failure of a small earth dam are typically much less than for a large dam, the probability of failure of a small earth dam is typically much greater than for a large dam. This is because many small earth dams have little regulation and receive little or no engineering input over their life cycle.

The presentation will give an overview of small earth dams that covers types, failure modes, investigation, design, construction, surveillance and maintenance. Case examples, most from Matthew’s own experience, and some from the 2016 floods in Adelaide, are used to illustrate the concepts that are presented.

About the Speaker

Matthew Duthy received a Civil Engineering degree from Adelaide University in 1990 and a PhD in Earth Sciences from Flinders University in 1996. He has worked for large multi-disciplinary consulting engineering firms since graduation, specialising in geotechnical engineering. He commenced working with PPK Consultants (now WSP), followed by a 3 year stint in England working for Binnie Black & Veatch (now Black & Veatch Consulting). Upon returning to Adelaide, Matthew worked for URS Australia (now AECOM), but since 2008 he has worked for Aurecon Australasia (formerly Connell Wager) where he is a technical director for ground engineering.

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