Can save millions on one dam

Can save millions on one dam

February 4, 2016
Head of Communication

New regulations mean huge sums must be spent on upgrading many of Norway's 6,000 dams. Cold climate scientists at Norut are measuring ice pressure and testing alternatives that may provide more accurate and cheaper rehabilitation.

The main wear and tear on Norwegian dams may be attributed to ice masses and pressure from the ice. A dam breach and subsequent flooding would cause enormous destruction with catastrophic consequences for people and infrastructure alike.

Many of the approximately 6,000 dams in Norway do not meet the new regulations, including the clause that dams must be able to withstand an ice load of 10-15 tonnes per metre. The price tag for rehabilitating the dams is enormous.

In light of this, Norut is now working on various solutions. Norut is measuring the ice pressure and conducting experiments on reducing the pressure by leading the ice masses away from the dams.

Through the NORDSATSING initiative and the ColdTech project, the Research Council of Norway has funded a project focussing on ice masses and ice pressure on dams. The Norwegian Water Resources and Energy Directorate (NVE), Norwegian state-owned energy company Statkraft and Nordland County Council are also important partners in the project.

“If we can find new methods to calculate the ice load and the capacity of the dam, society will quickly save billions because it won’t be necessary to upgrade existing dams. We are also testing a new method that leads the ice pressure away from dams,” says Research Director Christian Petrich at Norut Narvik, who is the project manager of the ice research project.

Read more on the Research Council of Norway’s website: Can save NOK 20 million on one dam (article in Norwegian only)