Advances in Earth Dam Design

Online /
Jun 11 - 12, 2024 /
Course Code: 14-0242-ONL23

The confirmation of this course depends on early registration; Register early to avoid the postponement or cancellation of a course.
  • Overview
  • Syllabus
  • Instructor


Please note, This instructor-led course has specific dates and times:
This course is held online over 2 days on the following schedule (All times in Eastern Time Zone):

10:30 am to 3:15 pm Eastern (Will include a one-hour lunch break and two 15-minute breaks)

After participating in this course, you will be able to:

  • Learn the overview of the evolution of earth dam design over the last 100+ years
  • Gain practical knowledge on key design considerations – geotechnical and hydrotechnical
  • Get an understanding of the recent advances in foundation characterizations for dam design
  • Learn about the current state of standards-based design criteria and their applications
  • Familiarize yourself with the risk assessment and its application to dam design
  • Integrate the dam safety management and its implication to the dam design practices

Earth dam design practices have evolved significantly over the last 100+ years. Many of these changes were due to the availability of better tools for analysis and methods for foundation characterizations as well as performance monitoring of existing dams, and other changes were driven by large organizations responsible for the design and construction of a large portfolio of safe dams.

The geotechnical and hydrotechnical design of the earth dam was primarily done based on a standards-based approach which had been gradually evolving to risk-informed or risk-based approaches like other higher risks industries.

Current dam designers are required to go beyond technical issues to fully understand the design needs and considerations, which will be the purview of this course.

Course Outline

  • Introduction to design of earth dam
  • Evolution of design practices
  • Preparation of design basis and its importance
  • Geotechnical and hydrotechnical issues and key aspects
  • Standards-based design
  • Risk-based design
  • Risk assessment in relation to dam design
  • Dam safety management

Who Should Attend
Dam owners and operators, regulators, NGOs, emergency planners, risk assessors, vendors and suppliers of dam materials and the consultants who provide services to the dam industry will find this course particularly valuable.

This course is intended to meet the requirements for continuing professional development.

More Information

Time: 10:30 AM - 3:15 PM Eastern Time

Please note: You can check other time zones here.


Introduction to the Design of Earth Dam

  • Dam types
  • Elements of Earth dams
  • Design issues and challenges

Evolution of Design Practices

  • Dam design practices in the 19th Century
  • Design and performance issues of old dams – designed before the 1960s
  • Advancements in dam design post-1970s

Preparation of Design Basis and Its Importance

  • What is the design basis, and why is it required?
  • Outline of a sound design basis – must haves

Geotechnical and Hydrotechnical Issues and Key Aspects

  • Foundation characterization
  • Material characterization
  • Geotechnical analysis
  • Hydrology, hydrogeology review
  • Hydrotechnical analysis

Interactive Case Study #1

Use a case study to demonstrate the need for a design basis and how it integrates geotechnical and hydrotechnical issues to meet design intent.

Standards-based Design

  • Evolution and current state of practice
  • Design criteria selection

Risk-based Design

  • Evolution and current state of practice
  • Design criteria selection

Risk Assessment in Relation to Dam Design

  • Potential failure modes
  • Risk assessment for new and existing dams

Dam Safety Management

  • Elements of dam safety management
  • Monitoring and surveillance of new and existing dams
  • Roles and responsibilities of different stakeholders

Interactive Case Study #2

Use a case study to elaborate on how risk assessment and dam safety management can impact the design of a safe dam.

Summary of Key Takeaways

  • List of key points for design considerations
  • List of dos and don’ts


Mohammad (Mamun) Al-Mamun , M.S.Eng., P.Eng.

Mohammad (Mamun) Al-Mamun has over twenty years of experience in geotechnical, geoenvironmental, and infrastructure engineering and has led multi-disciplinary and multi-stakeholder teams that delivered complex and challenging design and construction projects.

His areas of expertise include the design and construction of embankment dams and waste dumps, dam safety management (water, hydropower, mining), QA/QC, preparation of construction specifications, regulatory compliance, risk assessment, tailings management, large site investigation, foundation characterizations and instrumentation programs as well as laboratory and in-situ testing, and construction management.

Mamun leads the Praire (Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba) Dam Engineering group for Tetra Tech Canada. He leads project delivery and proposal preparation for various infrastructure, dam safety, irrigation, water management and mining projects; manages and mentors technical staff; and participates and contributes to business development and strategic planning.

He received his B. Sc. in Civil Engineering from Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology (BUET) and his M.Sc. Eng. in Geotechnical Engineering from the University of Calgary, Canada.

Mamun is an active member of the Canadian Dam Association (CDA). He chaired technical committees and working groups and regularly organized workshops and conferences for CDA, Tailings and Mine Waste (TMW) and the Canadian Geotechnical Society (CGS). Mamun is an Independent Technical Review Borads (ITRB) member and acts as Engineer of Records (EoR) for tailings dams.

The Engineering Institute of Canada

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Fee & Credits

$487.5 + taxes

  • 0.65 Continuing Education Units (CEUs)
  • 6.5 Continuing Professional Development Hours (PDHs/CPDs)
  • ECAA Annual Professional Development Points

Group Training
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