This paper discusses several considerations related to appropriate numerical modelling of the reservoir hydrodynamic pressures on dams. The reservoir is modelled with 8-noded isoparametric displacement based solid finite elements. The study includes both stiff and flexible dams with vertical and sloped upstream faces under ramp, harmonic and random acceleration loads. The numerical results were compared and found to be in good agreement with available closed-form solutions. The same approach may be used in analyses of other waterfront structures such as quay walls.