Low-head dams can cause dangerous currents near the downstream face of the structure. Fatalities at low-head dams are poorly documented. This thesis introduces a website with an interactive map and database of fatalities at low-head dams in the United States. The purpose of the web site is to generate interest among the general public to increase support to remediate dangerous structures and to serve as a tool for public education. The user interface allows the general public to browse fatal incidents by geographic location and to read incident circumstances. The site allows submission of public contributions including all metadata needed to characterize the incident. The database is structured to include documentation verifying each entry. The site can be viewed at http://krcproject.groups.et.byu.net. The danger is due to a uniform channel-wide countercurrent which causes upstream directed surface velocities. Previously, few inexpensive retrofit alternatives have been studied which prevent the uniform countercurrent. This thesis investigates two cost-effective retrofit options: (1) a channel wide horizontal flow deflector and (2) staggered flow deflectors. The channel wide flow deflectors cause uniform downstream directed surface velocities for a narrow range of tailwater elevations. The staggered flow deflectors prevent the uniform countercurrent for a wide range of tailwater elevations.



College and Department

Ira A. Fulton College of Engineering and Technology; Civil and Environmental Engineering



Date Submitted


Document Type





low-head dam, hydraulics, river, channel, public safety, database, surface velocity, fatalities