What is a Forebay? (with photo)

Hydroelectric dams can benefit from a forebay to trap sediment and debris and keep it from passing through their turbines.

A forebay is a man-made pool of water in front of a larger body of water. The larger body of water can be natural or engineered. Forebays perform a number of functions in a variety of environments and can be found in many regions of the world. While building a forebay can increase the upfront costs of water control and containment, it reduces long-term maintenance costs, making it a cost-effective move in many environments.

One of the main functions of a forebay is to act as a buffer zone during floods and storms. The small pool retains excess water, releasing it in a controlled manner into the larger body of water. This can increase security and help with flood control and mitigation measures. Partitions designed for this purpose can be deliberately kept shallow so that there is plenty of room to accommodate a sudden surge of water.

Another purpose of a forebay is to trap sediment and debris. This keeps the larger body of water cleaner and clearer. For things like dams, which often become clogged with sediment, a bulkhead can extend the life of the dam and reduce maintenance costs. Sediment capture is also useful for preserving natural bodies of water that will slowly fill up over time if people want to maintain a clean body of water for their use. In reservoirs used to store water for human use, removing sediment with a forebay increases capacity, reduces maintenance, and lessens the need for filtration.

See also  What are some common microscopic animals?

A forebay can also act as a natural habitat. Forebays can be attractive to fish, waterfowl, aquatic plants and other members of the natural world. For this reason, they are sometimes established with the aim of creating a more environmentally friendly water management project. Forebays can also be used in wetland management and restoration, in which case the aim is usually to maintain or restore a wetland for flood control and environmental reasons with the help of forebay.

The size and shape of a bulkhead can vary considerably. It can be immediately connected to a body of water or linked to channels or plumbing that can be used to control the flow of water from the smaller pool to the larger body of water. For aesthetic and environmental reasons, the area around the forebay can also be landscaped with plants, which will also help to retain sediment and prevent erosion.

Leave a Comment