2023 – Copeton Dam: Performance of the Great Scour Case Study in the Floods of 2022

Steven Pells, Alex Duwell, Hetal Parmar

Erosion of the spillway at Copeton Dam in the 1970’s captured worldwide attention. Much was published about the unexpected erosion, although studies considered only geological factors. Some remedial works were implemented, but erosion remained a critical concern. This paper provides an overview of historical scour issues including recent studies which considered hydraulic analysis and scour modelling.

In 2022, Copeton Dam Service Spillway experienced its flood of record, having not spilled for 40 years. An overview of the 2022 spill event is presented, leveraging modern surveying techniques to examine erosion, which allowed review of previous predictions and estimation of scour rate. Conceptual designs for scour protection measures for the Service Spillway are presented.

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