Numerical flow modeling and analysis of observation-well data at Hidden Dam are carried out to supplement recent geophysical field investigations at the site (Minsley and others, 2010). This work also is complementary to earlier seepage-related studies at Hidden Dam documented by Cedergren (1980a, b). Known seepage areas on the northwest right abutment area of the downstream side of the dam was documented by Cedergren (1980a, b). Subsequent to the 1980 seepage study, a drainage blanket with a sub-drain system was installed to mitigate downstream seepage. Flow net analysis provided by Cedergren (1980a, b) suggests that the primary seepage mechanism involves flow through the dam foundation due to normal reservoir pool elevations, which results in upflow that intersects the ground surface in several areas on the downstream side of the dam. In addition to the reservoir pool elevations and downstream surface topography, flow is also controlled by the existing foundation geology as well as the presence or absence of a horizontal drain in the downstream portion of the dam.
The current modeling study is aimed at quantifying how variability in dam and foundation hydrologic properties influences seepage as a function of reservoir stage. Flow modeling is implemented using the COMSOL Multiphysics software package, which solves the partially saturated flow equations in a two-dimensional (2D) cross-section of Hidden Dam that also incorporates true downstream topography. Use of the COMSOL software package provides a more quantitative approach than the flow net analysis by Cedergren (1980a, b), and allows for rapid evaluation of the influence of various parameters such as reservoir level, dam structure and geometry, and hydrogeologic properties of the dam and foundation materials. Historical observation-well data are used to help validate the flow simulations by comparing observed and predicted water levels for a range of reservoir elevations. The flow models are guided by, and discussed in the context of, the geophysical work (Minsley and others, 2010) where appropriate.
Additional publication details
USGS Numbered Series
Geophysical Investigations at Hidden Dam, Raymond, California Flow Simulations
U.S. Geological Survey
Central Mineral and Environmental Resources Science Center