Dams play a crucial role in various industries and sectors, providing water storage, flood control, hydroelectric power generation, and more. Learning about the different types of dams will help you determine which one is best suited for your project.

What Is a Dam?

A dam is a man-made structure built across rivers, streams, or other bodies of water to control and manage water flow. It typically consists of a barrier that obstructs the natural course of the water, creating a reservoir on one side while controlling the release of water on the other.

Different Types of Dams


A cofferdam is a temporary structure used to create a dry work environment within a water body. It is typically constructed to allow the building or repair of underwater structures, such as bridges, piers, or dams. A cofferdam consists of a watertight enclosure, often made of sheet piling or concrete, that creates a dry space for construction activities.

Industries or situations that may require a cofferdam include:

  • Bridge or dam construction and repair
  • Pipeline installation or maintenance
  • Water intake or outfall construction

Diversion Dam

A diversion dam, also known as a weir, is built to redirect water flow from its natural course. It is commonly used to divert water for irrigation, municipal water supply, or industrial purposes. A diversion dam is typically low and forms a shallow reservoir upstream, allowing water to be channeled to the desired location.

Industries or situations that may require a diversion dam include:

  • Irrigation systems
  • Water supply for agricultural or municipal purposes
  • Industrial water diversion

Gravity Dam

A gravity dam is a large and solid structure that relies on its weight and stability to resist the force of water. It is commonly built using concrete or masonry and is designed to withstand the pressure of the water behind it. Gravity dams are primarily used for water storage and hydroelectric power generation, as they can hold back large volumes of water.

Industries or situations that may require a gravity dam include:

  • Hydroelectric power generation
  • Water supply reservoirs
  • Flood control

Embankment Dam

An embankment dam, also known as an earthen dam, is constructed using compacted soil, clay, or rock fill. It is designed to hold back water by relying on the weight and strength of the materials used. Embankment dams are cost-effective and suitable for a wide range of applications, including irrigation, flood control, and water storage.

Industries or situations that may require an embankment dam include:

  • Irrigation systems
  • Flood control projects
  • Water storage reservoirs

Retention Dam

A retention dam is specifically designed to retain water and prevent its release downstream. It is often used to create small ponds or lakes, allowing water to accumulate and be stored for various purposes such as recreation, irrigation, or wildlife habitat preservation. Retention dams are typically smaller compared to other types of dams.

Industries or situations that may require a retention dam include:

  • Recreational ponds or lakes
  • Water conservation projects
  • Ecological restoration

Temporary Dam

A temporary dam is a versatile and easily deployable solution used to control water flow in emergencies or during construction activities. It can be quickly installed and removed as needed, making it an ideal choice for temporary flood control or worksite dewatering.

Industries or situations that may require a temporary dam include:

  • Emergency flood response
  • Construction site dewatering
  • Temporary water containment

Which Type of Dam Is Right for You?

Sand Bags

Sand bags have traditionally been used to create temporary barriers for flood control. They are inexpensive and readily available. However, they have several disadvantages compared to more advanced solutions like TrapBag® barriers:

  • Labor-intensive installation and removal
  • Susceptible to leakage and failure under high water pressure
  • Limited lifespan and durability

Quick Dam Flood Barriers

Quick Dam flood barriers are another option for temporary flood control. These barriers are typically filled with water on-site, creating a barrier against rising waters. However, they also have some drawbacks:

  • Relatively slow deployment time
  • Limited height and length options
  • Less durable compared to other alternatives

TrapBag Barriers

TrapBags offer a superior solution for flood protection and construction applications. These innovative barriers are made from high-strength geotextile materials and feature a unique design that allows them to be rapidly deployed, offering excellent flood control capabilities. Here are some key benefits of TrapBag barriers:

  • Incredibly durable and resistant to punctures, tears, and UV degradation
  • High-quality design prevents water seepage or leakage through the barrier
  • Quick and easy deployment, saving time and effort during emergencies
  • Versatile and adaptable to various flood scenarios and site conditions
  • Can be used as both temporary and permanent flood barriers
  • Suitable for a wide range of industries, including construction, flood control, and environmental protection

Using TrapBag for Different Dams

TrapBag is an ideal solution for a variety of dams, including:

  • Cofferdams: TrapBag’s rapid deployment, durability, and watertight properties make it highly effective in providing dry work areas for bridge construction, pipeline installations, and other water-related projects.
  • Gravity walls: TrapBag’s exceptional strength and durability make it a suitable choice for projects requiring long-lasting flood barriers, such as hydroelectric power plants, water storage reservoirs, and flood control structures.
  • Diversion dams (flood barriers): Redirect or contain water during flood events with TrapBag. Its quick deployment and flexible design make it an efficient solution for flood control in various industries, including municipal water management, agriculture, and industrial facilities.
  • Embankment dams: Provide a cost-effective and environmentally friendly alternative to traditional earthen dams with TrapBag. Its ability to conform to different terrains and its erosion-resistant properties make TrapBag a reliable choice for water storage, irrigation, and flood control projects.
  • Retention dams: This configuration of TrapBag barriers is beneficial for recreational purposes, wildlife habitats, and water conservation projects. The versatility and durability of TrapBags ensure long-term retention of water resources.
  • Temporary dams: TrapBag provides effective water containment for emergency flood response, construction site dewatering, and other temporary water control needs. Its flexible design and durability make it a reliable choice for short-term applications.

Get a High-Quality Dam from TrapBag

Don’t compromise on the safety and efficiency of your water-related projects. Contact us today to learn more about TrapBag barriers and how they can benefit your project.



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