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Embankment dams

Silixa’s continuous and remote fibre optic sensing-based hydropower dam monitoring solution can prevent dam failures by delivering reliable real-time information on the integrity of the dam.

It is a cost-effective solution that enables us to monitor even the largest embankment dams structures at remote locations, providing meaningful insight into hydropower monitoring projects.

Embankment dam monitoring with Silixa includes continuous and remote fibre optic sensing-based hydropower dam monitoring

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Why use distributed sensing for hydropower dam monitoring

Silixa’s distributed sensing technology turns an optical fibre into a dense array sensor with thousands of measurement points along its length. Fibre optic cables can be deployed in new dams during construction, or in existing dams using trenching methods or in standpipes.

The dense nature of the measurements provides complete spatial and temporal coverage to identify potential failure events before they occur.

Solutions with embankment dams


  • Seepage flow based on the XSeepT™ System
  • Temperature monitoring

Carina® Strain (DSS) — based

  • Breach detection
  • Deformation and movement
  • Strain and stress


  • Saturation and density changes
  • Internal erosion processes

Embankment Dams Benefits

  • Continuous and high-resolution spatial and temporal coverage
  • Autonomous data acquisition with wireless communications
  • Integrated real-time cloud-based monitoring and data visualization platform with autonomous alarm system
  • Low maintenance and durable: the fibre optic sensor does not include moving parts or electronics

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Seepage detection-based hydropower dam monitoring

XSeepT, from HydroResearch, is a high-precision distributed fibre optic sensing-based seepage monitoring system that provides continuous understanding of dam conditions. It uses the ULTIMA™ DTS distributed temperature sensor to detect small seepage flow changes and to calculate seepage rates in a dam structure. To read more click here.

High-resolution strain monitoring

Silixa’s distributed strain sensing (DSS) system provides continuous measurements the strain applied on fibre optic cable. Movements along the dam can be detected, and the location and magnitude identified.

Using ambient noise for passive seismic monitoring

Recent developments in Silixa’s DAS technology, including both monitoring and analysis techniques, give an additional method to monitor the seepage and internal erosion phenomena in dams to provide more accurate information on the integrity.

The extreme sensitivity of Silixa’s Carina® Sensing System, the precision engineered distributed acoustic sensor, enables passive seismic monitoring using recordings of the ambient noise field or monitoring of the sound of flowing water, making use of acoustic emissions.

Using pre-installed fibre optic cables for a more detailed insight into structures — distributed acoustic measurements

There are many dams that have fibre optic cables already installed, in most cases for temperature or strain monitoring.

Using Silixa’s intelligent Distributed Acoustic Sensor (iDAS™), complementary acoustic measurements can be acquired to detect anomalous seepage flow in dams without a drainage system, and to detect this flow at some distance from the cable. This can give a more detailed and reliable insight into the integrity of dams.

For more information, please contact us.

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