Importance of dam safety

Dams must be safe, so standards set for dam safety are high.

As the dam safety regulator, the Department of Regional Development, Manufacturing and Water’s role is to ensure dam owners are taking appropriate safety actions in accordance with the Water Supply (Safety and Reliability) Act 2008.

Dam safety regulation covers areas such as:

Dam safety standards

Dams are designed and constructed to withstand loads and pressures, including floods, earthquakes and ageing. Safety standards for referable dams are set to protect downstream communities.

Risk assessments, used to assess safety at a dam, consider the consequences of dam failure and the likelihood of this occurring. Safety standards are higher where the consequences of failure are greater.

The Guidelines on safety assessments for referable dams (PDF, 1.7MB) describe:

  • the evaluation of dam safety risks
  • whether those risks are acceptable
  • remediation of any identified deficiencies including recommended timelines for dam upgrades
  • and
  • circumstances requiring a reduction of full supply level at a dam.

Also consider…