Dambreak Technical Publications and Other Resources


These documents provide guidance on how to determine hazard classification for dams and list the acceptable methods and models on determining breach flows, flood flows, and flood depths.



Dambreak Hydraulics Spreadsheets (.xls)

The following spreadsheets may be used to compute flows through a riser and an open channel emergency spillway. Flows through a standard riser or a slotted multiple opening riser can be computed.


Dambreak Hydrology Spreadsheets (.xls)

These spreadsheets list storm rainfall amounts for Maryland and a runoff depth table based on the Soil Conservation Service TR-55 Runoff Equation. The runoff table can also be used to determine the rainfall amount necessary to generate the 50% probable maximum flood.


Dambreak Seepage Design Spreadsheets (.xls)

This spreadsheet uses the Casagrande Graphical Method to determine the phreatic seepage surface through a dam and estimates the seepage amount.


Dambreak Equation Spreadsheet

This spreadsheet includes a sensitivity breach analysis using the National Weather Service Simple Dambreak Equation. It also includes a second worksheet for determining time of failure and breach width based on David Froelich's breach regression equations. The time of failure and breach width data is used in the HEC-1 Model to determine breach flows.

  • National Weather Service Dambreak Equation Spreadsheet (smpdbk.xls )


Executable Programs

The following executable programs are used to determine breach flows and routed breach flows downstream of dams. The "hec1vm" program is a user friendly editor program for the HEC-1 Model as well as run the HEC-1 Program. The HEC-1 Program will develop flood hydrographs and breach hydrographs and route the downstream flows through stream cross sections, roads and other dams. The "smpdbk" (Simple Dam-Break) program is a shortcut version of the National Weather Service full Dam-Break Model. This program will determine breach flows from dams and route flows through downstream cross sections but is limited because it will not route flows through and over downstream roads and dams.

  • Hydrologic Engineering Center model (HEC-1 User Friendly Interface & HEC-1 Model) - hec1vm.zip
  • National Weather Service (NWS) Simple Dambreak Program - smpdbk.zip


Model Input Files

The "hec1 data" file contains several dam breach examples with downstream flood routings. The data can be used as a input guide for computing a danger reach for your dam. The "smpdbk" file contains several input and output examples using the National Weather Service Simple Dambreak Program.


US Army Corps of Engineers' HMR52 Program

This program is used to determine the elliptical rainfall distribution for dams with drainage areas larger than 10 square miles. The program outputs a rainfall hyetograph (rain depth vs. time) for the watershed areas above and below the dams. The output data is used as input in the HEC-1 Model to generate storm hydrographs. The model predicts smaller elliptical rainfall bands moving further away from the storm center.




Contact Information

You may also call us at (410) 537-3538.  Our mailing address is:

Dam Safety Division
Water Management Administration
Maryland Department of the Environment

1800 Washington Boulevard, Ste. 440
Baltimore, Maryland 21230-1708