The Portugués Dam (Spanish: Represa Portugués) is a 220 feet (67 m) high and 1,230 feet (370 m) long single-centered roller-compacted concrete thick arch dam on the Portugués River, three miles (5 km) northwest of the city Ponce, in Barrio Tibes, Ponce, Puerto Rico.

Containing 367,000 cubic yards (281,000 m3) of roller-compacted concrete, it is 110 feet (34 m) thick at its base and 35 feet (11 m) thick at its crest. The dam has an uncontrolled spillway center-left side, over the river bed; 21 ft (6.4 m) below the dams crest of 534.6 ft (162.9 m) above sea level. The center of the dam straddles an intake and outlet structure which will draw water from behind the dam and discharge it into the river valley.

The primary purpose of the dam is flood control, it provides flood protection for 40,000 people and over 13,000 residential structures. The dam is the final component of the Portugués and Bucana Flood Protection Project and the first dam of its type constructed by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in the United States or Caribbean. It is the first dam ever built in the United States that uses the single-centered roller-compacted concrete thick arch technique.

The dam was structurally completed in December 2013 and inaugurated on 5 February 2014. The dam is operated by the Puerto Rico Department of Natural and Environmental Resources.


Canary Systems has been asked to provide software and services related to the Automated Data Acquisition System (ADAS) deployed at the dam.

The monitoring system consists primarily of two Campbell Scientific CR1000 based monitoring systems to automate the measurements from a total of 152 Geotechnical instruments. These consist of the following, with the numbers in parenthesis representing the total number of measurements per sensor type:

  • Jointmeters: 30 Vibrating Wire type with thermistors (60)
  • Thermistors: 50 Thermistors (50)
  • Strain Sensors: 20 Vibrating Wire type with thermistors (40)
  • MPBX’s: 15 Vibrating Wire displacement transducers installed in 3 MPBX’s with thermistors (30)
  • Piezometers: 27 Vibrating Wire type with thermistors (54)
  • Flumes: 4 Vibrating Wire type with thermistors (8)
  • In-Places Inclinometers: 36 biaxial MEMs type installed in 6 IPI’s (72)
  • System parameters including ambient temperature and battery voltages (6)
  • Barometer: SDI-12 type (1)

Canary Systems initially conducted comprehensive software integration of the monitoring system into the MultiLogger Suite software, which included datalogger programming, database design and configuration, calculations, and outputs.

Canary Systems developed the project database consisting of approximately 12 “views” of the Dam. Approximately 325 calculations were created to convert all “raw” measurements to engineering units. This includes calculating In-Place Inclinometer deflections. Outputs, including charts and reports, were created to represent the data. Charts include readings for each instrument vs. time including pool evaluation, ambient and instrument temperature vs. time, and system status. This task also included import of historical data from approximately 150 Excel workbooks.

Canary Systems visited the site to install the MultiLogger Suite software and the project database, finalize and test the ADAS and communications and provide on-site training.

Portugués Dam
Insite - graphical site interface