What is a referable dam

A dam is referable if a failure impact assessment demonstrates there would be 2 or more people at risk if the dam was to fail.

The Guideline for failure impact assessment of water dams (PDF, 2.2MB) details the methods to be used to determine this.

Population at risk

The definition of population at risk (i.e. persons whose safety is at risk if failure of the dam was to occur) changed on 1 July 2017. This no longer includes:

  • residents on the same parcel of land on which the dam is situated
  • persons at a workplace where the dam is situated
  • persons at a mine where the dam is situated.

Failure impact rating

The population at risk for a particular dam is determined by undertaking a failure impact assessment in accordance with the guidelines for failure impact assessment of water dams.

The dam will be given 1 of the following failure impact ratings, according to the number of people at risk:

  • no failure impact rating: less than 2 people at risk
  • category 1 failure impact rating: 2 to 100 people at risk
  • category 2 failure impact rating: more than 100 people at risk.

Only dams given a category 1 or category 2 failure impact rating are referable dams.

If a dam becomes referable, the design standards and emergency action plans are based on everybody who might be at risk (including workers, miners and residents).

Contact us

Email damsafety@rdmw.qld.gov.au for more information about referable dams.

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