About Us

The Role of ANCOLD

The Australian National Committee on Large Dams Incorporated (ANCOLD Inc) is an incorporated voluntary association of organisations and individual professionals with an interest in dams in Australia.

ANCOLD is an association incorporated in NSW under the Associations Incorporation Act 2009 (updated 24 March 2022). It is a member-based professional association for organisations and individual professionals with an interest in dams in Australia that is governed by a constitution (last revised in 2019). ANCOLD operates financially as a not-for-profit organisation and reports this status with the Australian Tax Office.

ANCOLD membership categories include sustaining members, organisation members, associate members, retired members and honorary life members. The membership categories are relevant for the constitution and membership fees and benefits.


ANCOLD is a national organisation advancing excellence in dams technical practice and the management of dams in Australia.


ANCOLD’s mission is:
As the industry body, we support our members, disseminate knowledge and provide guidance in achieving excellence for all aspects of dams technical practice and management and to support industry to develop capability. We recognise that it is the skills of the people involved in these activities, their sharing of knowledge and collaboration that will sustain this mission.

The Role of ANCOLD

The Australian National Committee on Large Dams (ANCOLD), formed in 1937, is an Australian based apolitical industry body that focuses on disseminating knowledge, developing capability and providing guidance in achieving excellence for all aspects of dam engineering, management and associated issues.

As a non-government, not-for-profit and voluntary association of organisations and individual professionals with a common technical interest in dams ANCOLD currently has over 80 member organisations and around 300 individual associate members, covering all aspects of the dams industry.

ANCOLD is an active member of the International Commission on Large Dams (ICOLD) which has around 100 member countries and meets annually to share international practice and new techniques to advance all aspects of dam engineering and ensure the sustainable development and management of the world’s water resources. Further details about ICOLD can be found at www.icold-cigb.net

ANCOLD prepares and issues guidelines which represent current engineering practice. These guidelines have been developed to share most recent Australian practice for large and small water and tailings dams that could present a risk to life for those downstream, are widely used across Australia and also form the basis of local guidance in some other countries.

Although prepared for dams which would normally be at least 10 to 15m high ANCOLD guidelines can also be used to assist with decisions on smaller dams, particularly where a dam or series or dams creates the potential for loss of life or significant damage.

ANCOLD does not comment on any specific dam project or development. It is considered that the final decision for the development of dams is the responsibility of the community, which must weigh up the positives and negatives of any particular proposal. In the course of their business activities many ANCOLD members are involved in developing business cases and ANCOLD strives to ensure they are well informed in national and international practice to provide the best outcomes for the Australian community.

Dam Safety Legislation and Regulations

Whilst there is no federal legislation covering the safety of dams, the development and surveillance of dams is controlled by legislation and regulations in Queensland, NSW, Victoria and Tasmania. The other states and territories do not currently have specific dam safety legislation. The legislation varies but covers safety, environmental, cultural heritage and other issues of value to the community. In most cases the regulations require compliance with the ANCOLD guidelines.

ANCOLD members have been involved in the drafting and operation of dam legislation and regulations. ANCOLD encourages and supports the state regulators, all of whom are active ANCOLD members, to meet and identify improvements to achieving consistent dam safety outcomes.