The design criteria for dams have improved considerably over the last 100 years, but, even now, there are too many assumptions, approximations and unknowns involved in computations. Also, dams, like other structures, are subject to decay and deterioration with the passage of time, and, hence, it is not surprising to find that dams do fail occasionally. But, unfortunately lessons learned from past mistakes have often been forgotten.
By Asit K. Biswas and Samar Chatterjee, 1971. Article published in The Journal of The Engineering Institute of Canada, Volume 54, Number 3, pages 3-8.