Internal erosion is an important potential failure mode for large and small dams, dykes and levees as shown by the statistics of historic of failures and incidents.

Based on the records of dam incidents and the dam register in ICOLD (1974, 1983a, 1995), Foster et al. (1998, 2000a) analysed the statistics of dam failures for large dams constructed between 1800 and 1986. Table 8.1 summarizes the results.