History

The European Working Group on Internal Erosion (EWGIE) was set up in 1993 under the chairmanship of Andrew Charles (Building Research Establishment). 47 case histories were collected and preliminary conclusions drawn as to the features that increase the vulnerability of dams to internal erosion.

Following a number of serious incidents and failures in Europe due to internal erosion, research funding became available, with chairmanship of the EWGIE passing to Jean-Jacques Fry (EDF CIH). An inaugural workshop on definitions and research needs was held at Aussois in April 2005, with subsequent and ongoing annual workshops.

The Interim Report of the European Working group of ICOLD, entitled Assessment of the Risk of Internal Erosion of Water Retaining Structures: Dams, Dikes and Levees, was published at the European Conference on dams in Freising in 2007.

Jean-Jacques Fry (France) and Rodney Bridle (UK) coordinated the writing of ICOLD Bulletin No°164 “Internal erosion of existing dams, dikes and levees, and their foundations” (two volumes), published from 2015. This Bulletin, being the culmination of interactions which had actually commenced in 1993, is the first ICOLD Bulletin devoted to internal erosion. It is the first publication to assemble knowledge on the mechanics of the four modes of internal erosion: contact erosion, backward erosion, concentrated leak erosion and suffusion.

EWGIE had a remarkable meeting in Sept 2017 at Deltares, when ICOLD extended in July its field of action to include dikes and levees and formed the ICOLD Technical Committee on Levees, which will meet at ICOLD in Vienna in July 2016.

Politecnico di Milano organised the 26th EWGIE annual workshop the second week of September 2018. The Proceedings of the Meeting are now available as e-book (Springer).

This European Working Group on Internal Erosion (EWGIE) welcomes experts and scientists from over 30 countries in Europe and all other countries (USA, Canada, Australia, Japan, …). The floor is also given to young dam engineers, young researchers, and PhD students. It is mainly a place for exchanges between practitioners and scientists, and between experts, young engineers and researchers. This working group is linked to the ICOLD Technical Committee on Embankment Dams through Jean-Jacques Fry (Member for France) and Rodney Bridle (UK Member). EWGIE information is disseminated via a mailing list of more than 350 subscribers from around the world. The presentations of the annual meetings have been gathered since 2004 on the website.

S Bonelli (Irstea) and R Bridle (Dam Safety Ltd), 20 September 2018