ASDSO Dam Safety Toolbox

Flood Pool/Storage

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The flood pool represents the designated space within a reservoir that is reserved to temporary store excess water during flood events. It provides a dedicated space to store excess water during flood events, and aims to protect downstream communities, infrastructure, and ecosystems by reducing the peak flows downstream, and managing floodwaters in a controlled manner. The flood pool capacity allows for the temporary storage of floodwaters, mitigating the potential for destructive flooding downstream, and providing floodplain management benefits.

The flood pool capacity offers several benefits in dam operations and flood management. First, it helps to regulate and reduce downstream flood flows by temporarily storing excess water during peak flood events. The primary purpose of this pool is to minimize the risks of flood damage to infrastructure, property, and human lives. Second, the flood pool/storage provides flexibility in reservoir operations, allowing for the controlled release of stored floodwaters when downstream conditions permit, thereby dealing with flood control objectives while providing for downstream water supply needs.

When determining the flood storage capacity, watershed characteristics, historical flood records, anticipated inflow patterns, topography, downstream vulnerability, and the hydraulic capacity of the downstream channel need to be considered. The determination of the flood pool/storage capacity involves hydraulic modeling and analysis to assess the storage requirements necessary to control flood flows within acceptable limits. Adaptive management practices consider changing hydrological patterns, climate variability, and evolving flood risk assessments to assess the adequacy of the flood pool/storage capacity and adjust as needed.

The flood pool plays a crucial role in flood management and emergency preparedness. Reservoir operators closely monitor weather forecasts, river in-flows and out-flows, and downstream conditions to anticipate and prepare for potential flood events. During flood events, the flood pool provides a buffer zone to accommodate increased inflows, helping to control the release rates and reduce the downstream flood risk. Effective flood management strategies consider the flood pool capacity as an asset for mitigating flood impacts and ensuring the safety of downstream communities. (This paragraph seems to duplicate the first two paragraphs)

The management of the flood pool capacity requires active stakeholder engagement and adaptive management approaches (stakeholders, such as cities, National Guard, news networks, emergency personnel, are impacted when there is a flood event. Why does it require these stakeholders to be part of the management of flood pool capacity? They would be part of the Emergency Response Plan for a real flood event,) Collaboration with downstream communities, government agencies, and other stakeholders is essential to develop an Emergency Response Plan that would ensure the flood management strategies and operating rules are well-understood and accepted when a flood event occurs.

Best Practices Resources

Hydraulic Design of Spillways (EM 1110-2-1603), USACE