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DOC.WRD 22(352)
June 2005
BUREAU OF INDIAN STANDARDS
Draft Indian Standard
GUIDE LINES FOR PLANNING AND DESIGN OF PERMEABLE SPURS
IN ALLUVIAL RIVERS
____________________________________________________________
Not to be reproduced without the permission Last date for receiving comments:
of BIS or used as a STANDARD
2005-09-30
____________________________________________________________
FOREWORD
(Formal clauses of the national foreword will be added later)
Rivers are seldom straight. Depending on discharge, slope and sediments, some stretches are
meandering with alternate bends while some stretches are braided with main and branches
within the same flood plain. Unstable rivers, not in regime, are also found to change their
courses. Usually a river is found to erode the outer bank and sediments get deposited on
inner bank. In brained channels, however, rivers erode both bed and banks at high stage and
the eroded materials are deposited on the bed or banks during low stage producing a number
of channels within the flood plain with bed bars, dunes, antidunes etc.It is essential to train a
river for protecting its banks to avoid excessive meandering, to prevent shifting its course,
maintain navigability, etc.
Protection to the river banks is normally given by construction of stone revetments,
impermeable spurs / bed bars etc. The costs of these methods are very high. Therefore,
generally bank protection is restricted only to the important reaches. Use of permeable
structures instead of stone structures is a cost effective alternative for the bank protection
works.
Use of permeable screens / spurs for anti-erosion work is traditional and has been commonly
followed in Brahmputra Basin and other rivers in the country. In case of sediment laden
streams, it helps to induce siltation along the bank resulting in shifting of river channel away
from the eroded banks. These methods are easy for fabrication on the nearby ground close to
the site, need no especially skilled labour and can be constructed with speed. As only locally
available material is used, permeable spurs have been found very handy in bank protection in
areas where good quality stones are costly and / or not available.
Essentially, only a dampening action on the velocity of flow is achieved by a permeable
structure, distinguished from the deflecting or repelling action of an impermeable structure.
The sediment transporting capacity of a flow is highly sensitive to the velocity. The
theoretical considerations have shown that the weight rate of bed load transport is
proportional to the sixth power of velocity. Therefore, the dampening of velocity results in
deposition of coarser particles in the downstream direction.

These guide lines are prepared keeping in view the functional requirements and is based on
the traditional methods in vogue for the construction and laying of permeable screens and
spurs and the practical experience gained while applying the methods.
For the purpose of deciding whether a particular requirement of this standard is complied
with, the final value, observed or calculated expressing the result of a test or analysis,
should be rounded off in accordance with IS 2:1960 `Rules for rounding off numerical
values (revised)'. The number of significant places retained in the rounded off value should
be the same as that of the specified value in this standard.

DOC.WRD 22(352)
June 2005
Draft Indian Standard

GUIDE LINES FOR PLANNING AND DESIGN OF PERMEABLE SPURS


IN ALLUVIAL RIVERS
1.

SCOPE

1.1
These guidelines deal with the object, design details and layout of different types of
permeable structures for river training and bank protection works for the rivers in alluvium.
2.

OBJECT

2.1
Permeable structures are a cost effective alternative to the bank protection works
with impermeable stone spurs, making the projects more economical.
3.

TERMINOLOGY

3.1
The terminology followed for the design and layout of stone spurs (IS 8408-1992) is
applicable for this document also. The additional terms used in this document are as below.
a.
Structures - Different types of permeable structures made in the river channel to
achieve the desired river training and bank protection works, viz, spurs, screens etc.
b.
Elements - The permeable structures are made up of different types of smaller units
called as elements. Many elements are arranged in specific pattern and joined together to
form a permeable structure.
c.
Material - The engineering material used for making the elements and the permeable
structures, viz, bamboos, ballies, wire ropes, GI wires, etc.
4.

PERMEABLE STRUCTURES

4.1

Introduction -

Permeable screens, spurs and dampeners are the main types of permeable structures in
vogue. Prima facie, the purpose, overall behaviour and layout of the above mentioned
structures can be compared to those of submersible bund, spur and bank revetment
respectively.
The permeable structures can be used either independently or with a support of other
impermeable stone structures or river training and bank protection measures. Depending up
on the purpose to serve, the permeable structures are constructed in transverse or parallel to
the direction of flow.

4.2

Functions of permeable structures

Permeable structures serve one or more of the following functions.


Training the river along a desired course.

Reducing the intensity of flow at the point of river attack.


Creating a slack flow to induce siltation in the vicinity of the permeable structures and in the
downstream reach.
d.
Providing protection to the bank by reducing dampening the velocity of flow along
the bank.
e. Dissipating energy downstream of spurs through production of turbulence.
4.3

Classification of permeable structures


The permeable structures can be classified as follows

a.

According to function served, namely, diverting and dampening, sedimenting.

b.
According to the method and material of construction, namely, bally, bamboo, tree
and willow structures.
c.

According to the conditions encountered, namely, submerged and non-submerged.

d.
According to the type of structure provided, namely, spur type, screen type or
dampeners (revetment) type.
4.4

Structural elements

Different types of elements are used for making permeable structures. The dimensions
specified for the material are according to the sizes readily and commercially available in the
market. Therefore, variations in the dimensions, depending up on those available in the
market can be made in the design.
a.
Porcupines - Porcupines are made up of bamboos / ballies, have cubical shaped box
at the central portion with their legs extending in all directions. The overall size is 2 m to 3
m. The central box is filled with stones for stability of individual unit during floods (Fig 1).
b.
Cribs - This is a pyramid type of structure made up of bamboos / ballies with a box at
the bottom for holding stones for stability during floods. Size of the box is generally square
in shape of size 2 m to 2.5 m at the bottom. Total height of the structure is 3 m to 4 m (Fig
2).
c.
Bally frames - Permeable bally structures are made up of main skeleton of large
bamboos or ballies. Cross ballies are used for stability of the structure (Fig 3)
d.
Tree branches - Branches of trees or trees of short height are hanged from a wire
rope, duly weighted with stones and are aligned as a spur projecting into the river. The wire
rope is duly anchored on the bank and in the river bed (Fig 4).
e.
Willow frames - Willows (also called as Tarza or Shirkanda) is a type of bush, found
in many parts of the country like Punjab, Bengal. The willow has sufficient rigidity and

strength to withstand the pressure of flow and is resistant to decomposition and


disintegration. Instead of willows, ordinary brushwood is also used. Frames are made up of
ballies and the fillings are made up of willows. The panels are hanged from the wire rope and
duly weighted with stones at the bottom to hold them submerged and vertical during floods
(Fig 5).
4.5

Construction materials :

4.5.1 Following are the important points kept in mind while selecting the material for the
construction.
a.
Locally available material like bamboos, ballies, brushwood, willows, bricks etc is
mainly used for the construction of permeable structures. GI wire, GI wire mesh, wire ropes,
nails etc are the other important but commercially available material used for the structures.
b.
The main criteria for the selection of suitability of the material are (i) the cost and (ii)
easy / local availability. Other aspects are of secondary importance.
c.
The dimensions of the material have been specified according to those normally used
in the field. However, these could be changed according to the type and size of the elements
and the design of the structure.
4.5.2 Specifications for the important material used for the construction are as follows.
a.
Bamboos - Standard commercially available bamboos of girth 20 cm to 30 cm are
used for the porcupines and cribs. Normally, the larger girth of 25 cm to 30 cm is used for
the main members, whereas, the smaller girth of 20 cm to 25 cm is used for bracings. If
suitable sizes are not available, use of bamboos of girth smaller than the specified can be
made. It may not significantly affect the overall result. Splicing and extension of length is not
generally done in case of bamboos.
b.
Ballies - Standard commercially available ballies of girth 15 cm to 25 cm are used for
the bally structures. Normally, the larger girth of 20 cm to 25 cm is used for the main
members, whereas, the smaller of 15 cm to 20 cm is used for bracings. If suitable sizes are
not available, use of ballies of girth smaller than the specified can be made. It may not
significantly affect the overall result.
Ballies can be spliced and extended if longer lengths are needed. As the strength of the ballies
is very important aspect in the bally structure, care has to be taken while splicing. Provision
of cross bracings at about 2 m interval and additional bracings close to the spliced joint is
also necessary.
c.
Nails - Standard commercially available nails of length 100 mm to 150 mm are used
for the porcupines and cribs. Double nailing at critical joints and additional bracings show
better results. Use of bolt-nuts has been tried but has not shown significant improvement
compared to the additional cost involved.
d.
GI wire - 4 to 5 strands of 4 mm GI wire should be used for interconnecting
porcupines and cribs and anchor them to the ground. Alternatively, 12 mm 3-4 strands wire
ropes should be used for the purpose.

Use of nylon ropes instead of GI wires has been tried. The nylon ropes are susceptible to
disintegration in presence of Ultra Violet (UV) light. Therefore, care has to be taken to
fabricate and lay the nylon crates fully protected from sunlight. The nylon ropes exposed to
sunlight have been observed crumpled to power within a period of 6 months. Therefore, the
protection from UV lights is of utmost important.
A new variety of nylon ropes resistant to UV light have also been developed. However, it has
not been tested in bank protection works.
e.
Anchors - Bally anchors are driven into the ground up to a depth of 2 m. Concrete
anchors have an anchor rod of size 32-36 mm, well embedded in concrete cube. Wire crates
anchors are of size 1.5 m X 1.5 m X 1.5 m made up of thick wires and filled with stones.
f.
Stones - Stones in crates are used as counter weights, for nominal protection works,
for anchor block made up of crate, etc. The life of bamboo structures is normally limited to
one or two years only. Therefore, stones placed as counter weights in the central cube of
porcupines / bottom tray of cribs / crates need not necessarily be of high quality.
g.
Bricks - Bricks can be used instead of stones as counter weights, for nominal
protection works, for anchor block made up of crate, etc. Over burnt bricks can be more
resistant to abrasion than the ordinary bricks. Large bricks of size 35 cm X 25 cm X 12 cm
weighing between 15 kg to 18 kg have been successfully manufactured for use in permeable
structures.
5.

DESIGN OF PERMEABLE STRUCTURES

5.1

The concept

5.1.1 Dampening of velocities is achieved by the use of permeable structures. If the flow is
sediment laden, siltation is induced in the slack flow region and the channel is shifted away
from the protected reach.
5.1.2 If the flow is not carrying sufficient sediments, only dampening of velocities can
result. However, sedimentation between the permeable structures and corresponding shifting
of channel may not be observed.
5.1.3 Only partial obstruction to the flow not exceeding 33 percent only is envisaged in the
design. Higher obstruction causes more diversion of flow resulting in undesired scour around
the structures, particularly at the nose portion. Additional protection to the nose and flanks
(sides) is required to avoid such scour. Therefore, obstruction more than 33 percent is
avoided.
5.1.4 Different aspects of river training and bank protection works followed for
permeable structures are similar to those followed for impermeable stone structures.
example, the criteria for location, orientation, length and number as followed
impermeable stone spurs are followed for permeable spurs also. Some limitations
however imposed due to inherent weakness of the structural material and elements.

the
For
for
are

5.1.5 Percentage of obstruction caused by (i) the individual element (ii) by the individual
permeable structures and (iii) the group of permeable structures together are the important
considerations to be kept in view during the designs. These considerations affect the other
design aspects like stability of the structures, the number of elements to be provided in a
structure, additional protection measures, if any, to be provided to the permeable structures,
etc.
5.1.6 Selection of the type of the elements and structures for the protection works also
depends up on (i) the size and strength of the locally available material and (ii) the type of
material commercially available.
5.2

Design data -

5.2.1 Following are the important hydraulic data required for the design.
a.

Hydrology of the river, nature of floods (flashy or sustained), duration of floods, etc

b.
Design discharge (peak flood discharge of 25 years return period) with corresponding
HFL, bank level and maximum velocity of the flow attacking the bank or the channel under
consideration.
c.
Bankful discharge, corresponding average and maximum velocity of flow and
maximum depth of flow.
d.
site.

Lowest discharge, corresponding water level, depth of flow during lean period at the

e.
Soil properties of the bank, characteristics of the formation of the bank, particularly
the existence of stiff clay layer resistant to erosion, its location and thickness with reference
to the bed level, bank level and low water level.
f.
River configuration in the plan including the tortuisity and obliquity of channel,
percentage of discharge shared by the channel compared to the total river discharge, etc.
g.
Sediment load in the river and in the channel under consideration at different stages
of flood.
h.

Emergency involved due to the eroding bank.

i.
Cross sections of the river indicating the eroded bank, waterway, HFL, LBL etc.,
corresponding to design flood of 25 year return period.
Most of the above items can be estimated during site inspections and can be refined using
the observed field data.
5.3

Selection for alternative types -

5.3.1 Permeable structures commonly used are the screens, spurs and dampeners. The
structural elements commonly used are the porcupines, cribs, bally frames, tree branches and
willows. A suitable combination of the structure and the elements is made for the design of

protection works. Following points are kept in view while selecting the alternative types and
their combination.
a.
The porcupines, cribs and ballies are multipurpose elements used for all types of
permeable structures.
b.
The material like trees, bushes and willows are used for construction of spurs and
dampeners, particularly during flood emergencies.
c.
Permeable structures are usually designed as submersible. However, bally structures
are generally designed as non-submersible.
d.

The dampeners behave similar to revetments.

e.

Permeable screens are used to close the secondary channels in a multi-channel river.

5.4

Depth of flow -

a.
In case of shallow water flows and up to a maximum depth of 3m to 4m, porcupines
are used for both spurs and screens. For maximum depths of flow between 3 m and 5m to
6m, cribs are preferred. For the depths beyond these limits, bally spurs are preferred.
b.
Spurs or dampeners made up of tree branches or willow mattresses are found
effective up to a maximum depth of flow of 4 m to 6m, for greater than 6m, wooden pile or
bamboo, spurs may be used.
c.
Submergence up to 50 % above the structure is normally acceptable for porcupines.
A slightly lower value of 20% submergence above the structure is acceptable for cribs. For
tree and willow spurs it is normally limited to 5 % to 10 % only.
d.
If the characteristics of bank material are favourable, the above limits can be
exceeded considerably. Porcupine spurs and cribs have effectively protected depths two to
two and a half times to those specified above.
5.5

Layout in plan -

5.5.1 Spurs a.
The porcupine or crib elements are laid abutting to each other in a row. Walking
space can be provided between the rows for inspection and repairs.
b.
Each permeable spur is made up of 3 to 4 rows of porcupines or 4 to 6 rows of cribs.
More rows are laid for higher velocity, deeper flows and flood waves of longer duration,
inaccessible reaches difficult for maintenance (Fig 6).
c.
On a straight reach, permeable spurs are spaced at 3 to 5 times its length. On a
curved channel, depending up on the obliquity of flow, the spurs are spaced at 2 to 4 times
the length.

d.
Projection of the spurs into the river channel is normally 15 to 20 percent of
waterway. However, more projection can be allowed depending up on the velocity and depth
of flow.
e.
In case of porcupine spurs, additional elements are sometimes provided at the head
and width of the head is doubled. However, experience has shown no specific gain or
betterment in the performance of the spurs.
f.
In order to resist the tendency of outflanking, additional porcupines or cribs are
provided along the sloping bank upstream and downstream of the spurs.
g.
At least three spurs are provided for a specific reach to be protected. A single
permeable spur is generally not found effective.
h.
The standard practice of providing one or two additional spurs upstream and
downstream of the eroding reach, alignment pointing towards upstream with reference to the
flow, etc has to be followed for the permeable spurs also.
i.
Layout, spacing , projection, angle of spurs & their
effectiveness should be determined from hydraulic model
studies.
5.5.2 Dampners a.
For a maximum depth of flow up to 3 m, two rows of porcupines are laid along the
bank on either side of the toe as dampners.
b.
For a depth of flow between 3 to 6 m, rows of porcupines are added across the bank
up to the HFL at an interval of 2 to 5 times the elements used. The lower spacing is used for
higher velocities, oblique flow and critical locations (Fig 7).
c.
The porcupine or crib elements are laid abutting to each other in a row. The rows are
also placed abutting to each other. Walking space can be provided along the row for
inspection and repairs at an interval of 6-7 elements.
5.5.3 Screens a.
The permeable screens are used for choking the secondary channels. 4 to 6 rows of
porcupines or 6 to 9 rows of cribs are used in a permeable screen.
b.
One screen is normally provided at the entrance of the bypass or secondary channel.
The second screen is provided at a distance of 1 to 1.5 times width of the screen (Fig 8).
c.
At least two screens are provided for the screen structure. A single permeable screen
is generally not found effective.
d.
The screens are constructed covering a part or the whole width of the secondary
channel. If the screen covers the whole width, the screens are extended on both the banks for
a length one third of the channel width.

e.
Depending up on the importance, the possibility of development of bypass channel,
third screen can also be provided further downstream at a suitable location.
f.
If the screens are located close to the bank, the extension towards bank should be
restricted up to HFL.
g.
The porcupine or crib elements are laid abutting to each other in a row. Walking
space can be provided between the rows for inspection and repairs.
5.6

Protection to the structures -

a.
Due to inherent weakness of the elements, the counter weights provided (i) in the
central box of the porcupines or (ii) in the bottom tray of the cribs or (iii) those tied to the
tree ends or (iv) at the bottom of willow panels are most important. Due care is necessary to
tie the weights to the main body of the elements.
b.
Apart from the counter weights, the elements are tied to each other by wire ropes.
The tie ropes are duly anchored to the bank and at the nose with the help of suitable anchor
or anchor blocks. Depending up on the length of the screen, spur or dampners, intermediate
anchors are provided at an interval of 15 m to 20 m along the length of the structure on the
upstream side.
c.
In case of dampners, anchoring is provided at both upstream and downstream of the
walking space on both sides across the flow.
d.
Three types of anchors are used. (i) Ballies either single or in a group, well driven
into the ground (ii) Anchor rod well embedded in concrete cube and buried in the ground and
(iii) Wire crates filled with stones buried into the ground. The third type is generally used in
case of emergencies (Ref. Fig 4 to Fig 7).
e.
No bed protection is needed for the structures made up of porcupines and cribs.
Sinking of these structures in to river bed is a welcome feature, which adds up to the stability
during floods resulting in better performance.
f.
In case of tree spurs and spurs of willow panels, sinking of counter weights of
individual elements and of the anchors on both side of the structures is also a welcome
feature.
g.
Bally spurs / screens are normally more robust and rigid structure. Stability of the
bally structure mainly depends up on the length of bally driven into the river bed. Nominal
protection is provided to the head and shank portion of bally spurs / screens.
5.7

Design features

Design features of the permeable structures should be followed as and where applicable.
Most of these features are applicable for bally structures only.
a.
Top width - (for bally structures only) A top width of 2 to 3 m should be provided for
manually carrying the material for maintenance and repairs.

b.
Free board - (for bally structures only) A free board of 1m should be provided above
the HFL observed in the recent past.
c.

Side slopes - (for bally structures only) The sides are designed normally as vertical.

d.
Size of stones for pitching - (for bally structures only) The size of stones can be
worked out using IS 8408. However, for design velocities up to 2.5m/s, burnt clay bricks in
crates made up of GI wire or nylon ropes can be used.
e.
Thickness of pitching - (for bally structures only) Normally, pitching with bricks is
made with bricks on edge. In case of use of cages, 0.20 to 0.25 cm thickness can be
maintained.
f.
Launching aprons - (for bally structures only) A nominal aprons of 5 m width and 0.5
m thickness is provided at the nose and extended up to half the length of bally spur on
upstream and downstream face. However, regular aprons are sometimes provided which are
designed and laid as per IS 8408 for important bally spurs of stronger structures.
5.8

Miscellaneous

a.
In order to divert the flow and reduce pressure on the protection works, wherever
feasible, pilot channels should be provided in addition to the river training works constructed
with permeable spurs / screens.
b.
In case of high velocity flows, implementation of only permeable structures is not
favoured. However, use of permeable spurs in between the reach of two solid stone spurs is
more effective.
c.
In case of bamboo or bally spurs, the void between the skeletons is sometimes filled
with brush wood and weighted with sand bags, bricks or stones. In such cases, the
permeability of the structures is very less and obstruction to the flow is more. Consequently,
the diversion of the flow is more. Therefore, such structures are given more protection in the
form of aprons along the shanks and at the nose. However, brushwood filling is generally not
required. Instead, more spurs with closer spacing can give the desired performance.
d.
Care is necessary to see that the size of the stones / bricks (the minimum dimension)
is larger than the maximum size of openings provided in the crates of GI wire / nylon rope
mesh.
6.

FUTURE SCOPE OF WORK

Further research is necessary for further improvements in this method on following aspects
individually and combinations of one and more aspects.
a.

The relation between percentage dampening of velocities and -

(I)
Percentage permeability of individual elements, namely, porcupine, crib and willow
mattress.

(ii)
Group of elements, namely, porcupines and cribs in the specific layouts and
concentrations.
(iii) Stability against velocities of each elements and group of elements with various
layouts and concentrations
(iv)

Local scours around the individual elements or the group of elements.

b.
Instead of bamboo porcupines, RCC pyramids can be used for better strength and
durability. RCC can withstand higher velocities. Being more durable material, the same units
can be used repeatedly resulting in savings in the cost. RCC structures may also be
environmental friendly and use of jungle products would also be reduced.
c.
As alternative material, instead of bamboo porcupines, steel angles and wires have
been successfully tried for bank protection works in Bangladesh (Fig 9 and Fig 9A). The
same can also be tried in India.
d.
Large permeable spurs of height 15 m above LWL have been successfully tried in
Bangladesh. Instead of ballies, RCC piles have been used in the structure. Confidence for
such large scale applications in India can begin only after successful use of smaller permeable
RCC structures in the rivers.

List of figures
------------------Fig 1 : Typical porcupine element
Fig 1A : Isometric view of porcupine elements
Fig 2 : Typical crib element
Fig 3 : Typical bamboo spur
Fig 4 : Typical tree spur
Fig 5 : Typical willow spur
Fig 6 : Layout of typical porcupine spur
Fig 7 : Layout of typical dampener along the bank.
Fig 8 : Layout of typical screen across a channel.
Fig 9 : Typical steel jacks with wires
Fig 9A : Layout of typical protection by steel jacks
with wires.

Fig. 5 : SKETCH OF TYPICAL PERMEABLE SPUR WITH WILLOW ATTREESS