Dams – Hydropower

Monitoring of dams (including hydroelectric and irrigation dams) is key to improving decision making, managing risks, increasing safety, increasing productivity, optimizing designs, and reducing costs

An Overview

Dam Monitoring

Water dams, including hydroelectric and irrigation dams, are critical assets for the communities which benefit from them. Often, there are communities or environment downstream of the dam to protect as well.

Monitoring of dams allows the asset owner to monitor behavioural changes over time. Should parameters change, they can implement action plans to protect the public and environment as well as maintain usability of the dam for its intended purpose.

Due to the number of factors involved (hydrological, geotechnical, structural, and power-related), a wide variety of parameters are monitored for dams. These parameters are monitored in the dam structure, the foundation, and the reservoir.


With an effective monitoring system in place, changes in geotechnical parameters, such as ground movements and seepage, can be detected through early warning monitoring systems. Early warnings allow dam owners to enact contingency plans to counteract the observed changes in parameters.
Real-time monitoring systems allow engineers to access data immediately to allow for rapid decision making. Less effort spent on the collection of data means more time spent on effectively interpreting and using the data collected.
Monitoring instruments provide insight to key areas of concern such as:

  • Ground displacement (settlement or lateral movement)
  • Groundwater levels
  • Seepage
  • Load or stress


  • Instrumentation and data acquisition and collection should be selected to suit site-specific conditions and stability concerns.
  • Instrumentation installations should be designed to answer specific concerns in the structure, including the geotechnical parameter to monitor and the location to install the sensor.
  • A variety of data acquisition options are available to meet site-specific needs. These can range from manual to fully automated systems.
  • RST’s Instrumentation Engineers and Specialists can aid in selecting the right solutions for your site conditions.
  • Song Tranh2 Dam – Vietnam
  • Yechon Pumped Storage HPP – lower and upper dam South Korea
  • Cua Dat Dam – Vietnam
  • Shuanggou Hydroelectric Project – China
  • EGAT and RID Dams Upgrade – Thailand
  • Song Ba Ha Hydropower Project – Vietnam
  • Pleikrong Hydropower Project – Vietnam
  • Gampo Dam – Korea
  • Yixing Pump Scheme – China
  • Corumba Dam IV & Hydroelectric Scheme – Brazil
  • Ralco Dam – Chile
  • Diavik Diamond Mines – Canada
  • Terzaghi Dam – Canada
  • Lajoie Dam – Canada
  • WAC Bennett Dam – Canada
  • Seven Mile Dam – Canada
  • Gardiner Dam – Canada
  • Greater Vancouver Regional District, Cleveland Dam – Canada
  • Seymour Falls Dam, Seismic Upgrade – Canada
  • Lajeado Dam – Brazil
  • Brilliant Dam Expansion Project – Canada
  • Capanda Dam – Angola
  • South Fork Tolt River Dam – USA
  • South Fork Tolt River Dam – USA
  • Seven Oaks Dam – USA Army Corps. Of Engineers
  • Tianhuangping Pumped Storage – China
  • Mica Dam – Canada
  • Old Man River Dam – Canada

Speak with an Expert

I’m very happy with the quality of the instrumentation and technical support from RST, as always. They worked with us from the initial stages of the project to ensure that we were fully prepared and equipped to use the RSTAR network for the first time. They delivered everything within the tight project time frame to ensure that there were no delays on site, and the submersible tilt meters looked like new even after over twelve months of being submerged in Thames water!
-Richard Lipscombe, BEng (Hons), Director & Principle Consultant - RL Geotechnical Ltd