Stability analysis of kelau earth-fill dam design under main critical conditions

M. A. M. Ismail*, Soon Min Ng, E. K. Gey

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


The increased development and expansion of population in urbanize area in Malaysia have created a definite need to construct an inter-basin water transfer tunnel to fulfil the increase demand of water in the water scarcity region. As one of the main component in the inter basin raw water transfer tunnel project, the Kelau Dam had been designed to serve as a regulating dam in order to maintain a sufficient water level in the Kelau River for the water intake. The successful construction and operation of the dam over the full range of loading require a comprehensive evaluation of the dam designed before the construction proceeds. Thus, this study serves to investigate the factors that can cause instability of the earth-fill dam slope and to evaluate the earth-fill dam performance under main critical conditions by determining the factor of safety (FOS) of the dam conceptual design. Four main critical conditions considered in the analysis are end of construction, steady state, steady state with seismic loading and rapid drawdown conditions. This study began with detailed site characterization and investigation for the engineering information needed in the slope stability analysis. The dam slope stability analysis considering of the critical conditions were carried out using limit equilibrium method (LEM), shear strength reduction method together with seepage analysis using finite element method (FEM). It is found that FOS of rapid drawdown and steady state with seismic loading conditions are close to each other and have obvious lower value compare to steady state and end of construction conditions. The 2-D conceptual model of the earth-fill dam can be classified as stable under all critical loadings as the FOS are more than the minimum requirement specified by the design. Factors of safety computed by both LEM and FEM are close to each other where differences in percentage are less than 6 %. Based on the seepage qualitative and quantitative results analysis, piping failure at the toe of downstream slope is unlikely to occur due to systematic arrangement of filters and drains at internal surface of slope.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3209-3219
Number of pages11
JournalElectronic Journal of Geotechnical Engineering
Volume17 W
Publication statusPublished - 2012


  • Earth-fill dam
  • End of construction
  • Factor of safety
  • Finite element method
  • Limit equilibrium method
  • Rapid drawdown
  • Slope stability
  • Steady state
  • Steady state with seismic loading

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geotechnical Engineering and Engineering Geology


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