13 Contour Dam


Contour Dam This is an example of a contour dam. The dam on a site designed and built by Darren
Dowardi in Australia, primarily sues the sites driveway as a water collection surface to
supply the reservoir. Water running down an adjacent roadway and
flowing down the roadway ditch is also channeled in the reservoir that is built on a gentle
ridge. The dam wall is three sided, and it’s especially
suited to a location that doesn’t have topography conducive for other types of dams. According to P.A. Yeomans in his book, “Water for Every Farm”,
a contour dam should be built on a slope no steeper than 4% grade. There are landscapes where there is suitable
for a contour dam that’s higher than a saddle dam, and landscapes where a contour dam is
the only possibility due to the topography. This dam will also connect to an adjacent
valley pond by an on-contour drain, so the ponds will fill together to the same height,
with one spillway needed between them. Also wide spaced orchard and tree crop systems
are following the keyline pattern cultivation geometry, so are aligned to drift water around
the ridge during storm events. This site is an excellent example of how an
integrated site design includes many interconnected elements and makes the most of the sites natural
characteristics. Assessing your climate and topography are
the first steps in analyzing your water potential.

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