Ever wonder what it takes to build a dam? At Fast Pulse, Nelspruit’s leading plant hire company, we know the ins and outs of which equipment will best serve the purpose of successful dam construction and in our latest blog, we explore this fascinating topic.

In South Africa, the construction of dams is of vital importance as South Africa does not have a lot of water.  Most large dams are constructed in such a way that they are capable of bearing rails or even bridges.

Dams are used to channel water supply as well as store it.  A lot of dams are constructed on rivers and without the use of heavy construction equipment it would be near impossible for the engineers to build these huge dams that can hold the tons of water under pressure.

Before dams are built, the purpose that that dam is going to serve is carefully planned.  Some of the reasons for building a dam are as follows:

  • Providing protection from flood, by channelizing water supply
  • Reserving water or making water reservoirs at the backwater dams
  • Creating shipping channels as lateral dams
  • Producing hydroelectricity.

The construction equipment used to build a dam, whichever your chose, is always the same.

List of heavy construction equipment needed for dam construction include:

  1. Excavators

The first step when building a dam on a river is to divert the river away from the construction site.  Once the river has been successfully diverted the ground where the dam is going to be can be excavated.

  1. Loaders

After the excavators have done their work the loaders get called in to remove the excavated ground from the construction site.  Loaders remove the ground to another area so that the construction site is completely clear of debris.  High power pumps come in after the loaders to remove all water from the entire area to enable further construction.

  1. Compactors

Once dried, the compactors are brought in ensure that the ground is suitable compacted before construction can start.  Often several different kinds of compactors are used to get the area completely compacted and safe for the construction of a dam.

  1. Ready-mix concrete trucks

Because huge amounts of concrete gets used in the construction of a dam, ready-mix concrete trucks are brought in to mix and fill the area with concrete.  With the construction of very large dams, mixing plants are often built on the construction site.

Large amount of water is stored in dams and so engineers make plans for dams with either gates in them or an outlet for excess to be able to flow away safely once the dam is full.  Once the concrete is dried up entirely, the original path of the water is channelled back to its original path.  The dam is now ready for either storing water or holding water or in cases of huge dams, generating hydro-electricity.