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The ANCOLD Guidelines on Risk Assessment were published in 2003. They have served the Australian dam community very well and are referenced internationally. Risk assessment is now the principal approach to manage engineering risks at water dams and now a developing practice for tailings dams.
These new guidelines on risk assessment replace the 2003 publication. They include updates to several sections taking account of developments in risk analysis methods and risk evaluation, from experience in applying those guidelines. As for ANCOLD (2003), these guidelines are directed to the practical application of risk assessment, as an aid to better dam safety management. Risk management is the end objective – risk assessment is a means to that end.
These guidelines have been produced by a Working Group of six members, all with significant experience with risk assessments for dams. A Reference Committee of sixteen members has been engaged throughout the development of the Guidelines.
The Working Group and Reference Committee include representatives of dam owners, consultants, universities, and regulators of dam safety. Six Australian states and the ACT were represented. Members and associates of ANCOLD have also provided input through risk workshops held with annual conferences.
Dam owners, decision-makers and analysts need to consider the current state of development of risk assessment in deciding how best to use and apply the process in reaching decisions on dam safety, having regard to their specific overall business risk management needs, and their community and legal responsibilities.
These guidelines also require consideration by dam safety regulators, who need to decide what part risk assessment can play in the discharge of their responsibilities. Deciding on the tolerability of risk is one of the functions of regulators.
ANCOLD continues to believe that the use and further development of risk assessment using studies of the traditional engineering standards-based approach as an input, as proposed in these guidelines, offers the potential for significantly improved dam safety management.
Risk assessment methods are continuously developing. ANCOLD recognizes that detailed aspects of these guidelines will be overtaken by developments within a few years and urges practitioners to keep abreast of new knowledge. Nevertheless, the framework and generic guidelines in this publication are essentially as detailed in ANCOLD (2003) and are expected to remain valid for many years.
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ANCOLD is an incorporated voluntary association of organisations and individual professionals with an interest in dams in Australia.