Even more destructive: Cascade dam break floods

Z. Cao*, W. Huang, G. Pender, X. Liu

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

22 Citations (Scopus)


The present work aims to bridge the gap of knowledge of how and to what extent a cascade dam break flood is distinguished from a single dam break flood over both fixed and mobile beds. A shallow water hydrodynamic model is deployed to resolve the floods because of successive and synchronous break of two cascade dams. A cascade dam break flood features a substantially raised peak stage, advanced timing, or both, at a downstream station as compared with that because of a single dam break irrespective of whether the impacts of sediment transport and bed evolution are considered or not. The dam-to-dam spacing and relative dam height in the case of successive break (or initial reservoir water depth in the case of synchronous break) play a central role in dictating the flood, and based on these variables, the threshold conditions for peak-stage rise are evaluated. The present finding characterises a higher risk of flooding from a cascade dam break than a single dam break, which should be accounted for in flood defence design and alleviation schemes.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)357-373
Number of pages17
JournalJournal of Flood Risk Management
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2014


  • Cascade dams
  • Computational model
  • Dam break
  • Flooding
  • Flooding risk
  • Sediment transport


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