Anyone ever make large RAISED manmade lake with dirt levees?

Discussion in 'All Things Boats & Boating' started by Squidly-Diddly, Apr 13, 2021.

  1. Squidly-Diddly
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    Squidly-Diddly Senior Member

    I'm thinking of something about 20ft deep with about 5ft above waterline and 1-4 miles across but of course water volume and surface goes up exponentially to levee length so bigger is better so "the sky is the limit".

    Some place where there is flat land and no place to dam but also a decent river sorta nearby to pump water from but no existing lake type bodies of water, or run pipeline from way, way upstream off to your new raised lake.

    Not sure WHY I'd want to do this. General Purposes I guess-reservoir, aquaculture, recreation, evaporation/air-conditioning. Maybe I was a beaver is a previous life.

    Where to do it? Probably China in their western semi-desert where they are building all those new "Ghost Cities". They seem down for cutting red-tape to enable large projects and have completed decades long re-foresting of one of world's largest (former) deserts, and IIRC most of the land is flat and rather barren but they do have rivers that get annual flood flows.

    Sacramento River Delta is nothing but levees guarding mostly not THAT much farmland and a real river to contend with and it seems economically viable even 100+ years ago when big earth moving machines were rare and expensive.
     
  2. Mr Efficiency
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    Mr Efficiency Senior Member

    Do you want to go water skiing in the desert ? An earth-fill dam sounds like what you are talking about, big project and needs to have an economic basis as well as an engineering one. I recall visiting some people in the country once and commented on the lack of farm dams in the area. I was told the local terrain was very poor at holding water, being an extremely deep volcanic soil, and getting a "seal" was very difficult. Don't build in such a place !
     
  3. Rumars
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    Rumars Senior Member

    Yes, it's done all the time for aquaculture, usually the earth comes from the lake itself, they dig a hole and use the excavated earth to build the embankment dam. It also has the advantage that you can go down to the first water table and can drain land this way. The core must be waterproof enough to retain the water, so clay must be present. It can be made as big as you say, but for a 20ft deep lake the embankment will be a lot higher then 5ft, even when using rocks as a core, and will be very wide. You would probably have to bring additional material, I doubt that the excavated one would suffice.
     
  4. messabout
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    messabout Senior Member

    We have those things in central Florida. The artificial lakes are huge and dangerous. The reason is that the phosphate mining industry has a disposal problem with one of their by products: Gypsum. They dig a cavity and line it with a plastic membrane. It will be filled with "nasty", even radioactive, water over time. When the plastic liner fails, which it will do after 15 to 20 years there will be the danger of a berm breach. That is a real hazard because the lakes are somewhat above ground level and a serious breach can cause disastrous mini Tsunamis.

    That exact scenario recently occurred in Manatee county, on the south side of Tampa Bay. The breach was at first small but growing. It threatened the residential community nearby with total destruction. The emergency brought on Godzilla sized pumps to evacuate the lake of water before the dam burst and killed a lot of people.

    The pumps worked well enough to avoid the disaster of a major breach. The problem is that the water was chemical laden with byproduct of the phosphate mining process. All that water was pumped into lower Tampa Bay. The jury is out but it is feared that the polluted water, hundreds of millions of gallons of it, will affect the marine system with red tides, massive fish kills, and destruction of the marine vegetation that is essential to the health of the local marine system.

    Those artificial lakes are called Gypsum stacks. The one in Manatee county was not the first of them. Others in central Florida have polluted rivers and streams and affected the quality of the aquifer. That has been going on for 40...50 years.
     
  5. gonzo
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    gonzo Senior Member

    No problem. All you need is 150-200 million dollars.
     
  6. Squidly-Diddly
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    Squidly-Diddly Senior Member

    Interesting and sounds like pollution and lowest cost minimal construction is the issue, and why don't these lakes dry out after a few years, or at least down to level of water-table which I assume in FL is pretty close, but still under, ground level?
    Gypsum is main ingredient of Sheetrock so maybe this is wrong type or too dirty or something. Here at Port of Redwood City in CA they have RR cars bring gypsum to make huge pile then load it into bulk carrier ships to China.
    Toxic wastewater reservoir on verge of collapse in Florida could cause "catastrophic event" - CBS News https://www.cbsnews.com/news/florida-state-of-emergency-wastewater-leak-verge-catastrophe/
    WOW! I'm going to use that news lead in for my uncoming horror/comedy B-movie "I was a Radioactive Toxic Super Fertilized Zombie Alligator from Florida".

    I don't consider myself much of an Eco-Freak but someone is doing a COMMERCIAL mining operation and causing a YUGE expensive problem and "no one knows what to do next"???....according to TV news bunnies. Have them call me and I'll walk them through it.

    Anyways, the plot will be that I and other 'gators became super intelligent and super sized due to fertilizer and radioactively and figured we crack the levee and flood town and kill lots of people so we'd have more food. Like all horror movies when the horror is discovered they just try to cover it up and generally don't know what to do, which explains all the local news and govt officials playing dumb and acting irrationally. No doubt many such news clips and press conferences of such could be spliced into the film. They can't pump the lake into another newly build lake because that would reveal all the Zombie Gators the company created, so the company invents red-tape reasons for not doing that, and they can't kill the ZGs because humans can't venture onto or into for the lake due to radioactivity and toxins for any length of time, so its sort of a Mexican Standoff, but the Gators are hungry.
     
  7. hoytedow
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    hoytedow wood butcher

    The Tampa area gets on average about 50 inches of rain yearly. We have two seasons: winter and rainy and sometimes it rains in the winter. It would be easier to dry out a moonshiners convention.
     
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  8. Squidly-Diddly
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    Squidly-Diddly Senior Member

    Those FL mine waste ponds are pretty tiny compared to what I'm thinking of, so that means they are costing orders of magnitude more for the amount of water they hold, which tells me the tech and methods for making these is pretty cheap and well sorted out. Rumars and Mr Efficiency mentioned clay and water leakage. I was around Port of Oakland where they were loading bulk freighters with steel scrap from dock-side massive auto-wrecking yard during epic (for CA that is lol) rain storms and due to IIRC 3" layer ("very thick") of clay required by Eco-regs there wasn't even a sheen of oil in the estuaries after week of heavy rains. I was kinda impressed. Not sure how special the clay was and the entire site would be only around a dozen acres.
     
  9. Rumars
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    Rumars Senior Member

    As I said, technologically there is nothing against it. Size wise we are talking about a small hill that can easily accommodate an interstate highway on top. Here an example of how it would look Zuiderzee Works - Wikipedia https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zuiderzee_Works#/media/File%3AAfsluitdijk_1031.jpg
    Cheap is relative, it's usually cheaper than a concrete dam, but we are talking about hundreds of millions here. If you want to see some in person, go to the Sacramento delta, the levees are clay.
     
  10. Will Gilmore
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    Will Gilmore Senior Member

    upload_2021-4-15_22-32-51.png
    Take a look at the Arizona Water Bank.
    I drove past one man-made lake that was simply an area inside a square of levies about six square miles. Another one was empty but for a small stream with castle grazing in it.
     
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  11. gonzo
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    gonzo Senior Member

    What's your phone number. They will be ecstatic that they can benefit from your knowledge and expertise.
     
  12. Mr Efficiency
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    Mr Efficiency Senior Member

    I once saw the results of a large freshwater lagoon that was behind the dunes on an ocean beach, by some hundreds of yards, collapse the dunes after a heavy rainfall, and empty into the sea, you wouldn't think it possible, but somehow it did, it wasn't as if it was a narrow embankment that collapsed, there was quite an area of dunes sweep out with it. A similar thing happened with a coastal dune mineral sand mine, where a floating dredge was eating it way along parallel to the beach, but still with at least a hundred metres of dunes between the empondment and the beach, but it let go taking two D9 dozers that had been sitting on the dunes, out into deep water. No-one was working on the seaward side when it happened. It is like some kind of liquefaction of the sand caused it to lose the intergranular friction that keeps things like rail track ballast stable. Hydrostatic pressure did the rest. The clue might be that the entire "levee" had to be thoroughly wet to lose its cohesion, and the extra height of water filling the "dam" added the final touch needed.
     

  13. ImaginaryNumber
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    ImaginaryNumber Imaginary Member

    I understand that the Dutch are pretty good at that sort of thing.

    Flood control in the Netherlands
    The construction method of dikes has changed over the centuries. Popular in the Middle Ages were wierdijken, earth dikes with a protective layer of seaweed. An earth embankment was cut vertically on the sea-facing side. Seaweed was then stacked against this edge, held into place with poles. Compression and rotting processes resulted in a solid residue that proved very effective against wave action and they needed very little maintenance. In places where seaweed was unavailable other materials such as reeds or wicker mats were used.

    Another system used much and for a long time was that of a vertical screen of timbers backed by an earth bank. Technically these vertical constructions were less successful as vibration from crashing waves and washing out of the dike foundations weakened the dike.

    Much damage was done to these wood constructions with the arrival of the shipworm (Teredo navalis), a bivalve thought to have been brought to the Netherlands by VOC trading ships, that ate its way through Dutch sea defenses around 1730. The change was made from wood to using stone for reinforcement. This was a great financial setback as there is no natural occurring rock in the Netherlands and it all had to be imported from abroad.

    Current dikes are made with a core of sand, covered by a thick layer of clay to provide waterproofing and resistance against erosion. Dikes without a foreland have a layer of crushed rock below the waterline to slow wave action. Up to the high waterline the dike is often covered with carefully laid basalt stones or a layer of tarmac. The remainder is covered by grass and maintained by grazing sheep. Sheep keep the grass dense and compact the soil, in contrast to cattle.​

     
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