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The development and validation of a numerical simulation model of the flow through embankment dams is described. The paper focuses on basic verification studies, that is, comparisons with analytical solutions and data from laboratory experiments. Two experimental studies, one dealing with the flow in a Hele–Shaw cell and the other with the flow through a bed of packed glass beads, are also described. Comparisons are carried out with respect to the phreatic surfaces, pressure profiles, seepage levels and discharges. It is concluded that the agreement between experimental, analytical and numerical results is generally satisfactory.