Document Type

Thesis - Open Access

Award Date


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Department / School

Agricultural Engineering


The farm pond has come into popular use in the past few years as an inexpensive source of water for livestock, irrigation, and domestic use. With minor design modifications, the farm pond can be used as a flood detention structure. Component parts of a farm pond are the storage area, earth damn, grassed emergency flood spillway, and mechanical spillway. The mechanical spillway is probably the most important component part of safeguarding the successful operation of the farm pond due to its primary purpose of carrying low flows of surplus watershed runoff through the earth damn. There are three characteristics that a mechanical spillway should possess; good hydraulic characteristics, simple and inexpensive to manufacture, and easy to install; however, many current designs do not possess all three of the previously stated qualifications. In 1954, Congress passed Public Law 566, known as the “Small Watershed protection and Flood Prevention Act.” This law provided for the development of conservation practices and flood prevention on small watersheds. With the passage of this act and the growing demand for greater supplies of water and for protection from floods, earth damn construction has sharply increased. In the construction of future earth dams, if only a few dollars on each project can be saved, then the construction of several projects over a few years would result in a large total savings.

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Hydraulic Engineering

Farm ponds


Includes bibliographical references



Number of Pages



South Dakota State University