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Lake Houston Dam Rehabilitation

An elegant engineering solution designed to increase the safety and stability of a critical asset

  • 66

    Feet Maximum Elevation

  • 158

    Buttresses

  • 12.1K

    Feet Long

  • Houston, Texas

    Houston, Texas

Safeguarding the dam and its water supply storage for generations to come

Built in 1954, Lake Houston Dam is the only source of surface drinking water for over two million Houston, Texas residents. Rehabilitation became critical when the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) identified this high hazard structure had fallen substantially below the sliding factor of safety (SFS) guidelines.

When initial studies recommended a costly solution, Coastal Water Authority (CWA) engaged our water resources engineers for a second opinion. We created a mathematical stability model specific to the dam’s complex geometry, and performed geotechnical analyses for seepage, settlement, and bearing capacity. Verifying our findings through ground investigation, we then created a computational fluid dynamic (CFD) model to evaluate the benefits and risks associated with modifying or demolishing existing elements. Our efficient design solution backs water up against the dam to use its weight as a stabilizer, effectively creating a small dam below a bigger dam. Extremely close coordination was required so construction and temporary works would not put the existing structure at risk.

Despite major flooding event setbacks and the challenges of protecting the dam’s integrity, we completed the rehabilitation on time and within budget. Lake Houston Dam is now one of the only dams in Texas that complies with TCEQ’s SFS requirements.

At a Glance

Offices
Meet Our Team

David Irvine, Senior Vice President, Business Leader, Water

Helping clients solve their most difficult problems is what I love to do, and it all starts with listening to their needs.
David  Irvine Senior Vice President, Business Leader, Water Read More

Betty Leite, Principal, Project Management & Commercial Leader

Be upfront and proactive with clients—it’ll help you reach a partnership that lasts a long time.
Betty Leite Principal, Project Management & Commercial Leader Read More

Mike Rogers, Vice President, Global Dams Practice Leader

The projects we build last generations. Our designs must be sustainable and long lasting for the communities they serve.
Mike Rogers Vice President, Global Dams Practice Leader Read More

Christine Weber, Senior Associate, Power & Dams

I’m immensely pleased when our hard-earned knowledge and experience lead to elegant solutions for complex dam designs and dam safety issues.
Christine Weber Senior Associate, Power & Dams Read More

David  Irvine

Senior Vice President, Business Leader, Water

Betty Leite

Principal, Project Management & Commercial Leader

Mike Rogers

Vice President, Global Dams Practice Leader

Christine Weber

Senior Associate, Power & Dams

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