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ANCOLD Dam Safety Liabilities and Corporate Governance Course

An Australian National Committee on Large Dams (ANCOLD) short course has been developed specifically for board members, political advisors, CEOs and senior executives. The course is specific to Australia and customised to the State it is being delivered in to suit particular needs of the participants. It normally runs for about 1.5 hours.

The objectives of the course are to help form a common understanding between corporate managers, decision makers and their technical advisors. Some of the key topics covered include:

  • Why dam safety is important and the implications of it to an organisation;
  • Fostering awareness of the responsibilities and liabilities associated with dam ownership and the development of strategies for dam safety management to meet requirements from a common law, regulatory, due diligence and good practice standpoint;
  • To explain some of the main tools used in assessing and managing dam safety, particularly risk assessment; and
  • Putting the above in the context of business/enterprise risk management.

The presenter of the course is Shane McGrath. Shane is a Fellow of the Institution of Engineers, with qualifications in Civil Engineering and substantial experience in the construction, operation and maintenance of large dams from both senior executive and board perspectives. His experience covers many aspects of dam safety management, including risk assessment, dam safety management systems, surveillance and emergency management. He is highly knowledgeable in the subject matter and is well qualified to deliver the course.

This course is an important component of ANCOLD’s communication strategy to share and disseminate knowledge to the dams industry and raise awareness of dam safety to a broader audience.

The courses are provided to small groups to allow them to be more interactive, beneficial and targeted.

Any organisations interested in running this course for a small internal group, please contact the secretariat. [email protected]

Note: The course material is only relevant within Australia.


Shane McGrath holds a Bachelor degree in Civil Engineering from Monash University and a Diploma from the Australian Institute of Company Directors. He was awarded a Churchill Fellowship in 2000 to study risk assessment for dams, and the River Murray Medal in 2012 by the Murray Darling Basin Authority.

Shane has over 40 years’ experience in the water industry, having held senior leadership roles in the management, construction, operation and maintenance of dams and other water supply infrastructure. During the late 1990’s he developed and managed a risk-based dam safety upgrade program for a portfolio of 17 dams. This was one of the first such programs in Australia.

Shane was a member of the working group which produced the Australian National Committee on Large Dams (ANCOLD) 2003 Guidelines on Risk Assessment and convened a team to update the Guidelines, published in 2022. He is a Past Chairman of ANCOLD and a member of the Dam Safety Committee of the International Commission on Large Dams (ICOLD).

He was formerly General Manager Infrastructure and Managing Director of Goulburn-Murray Water, a large water authority with more than $5 billion in assets, and a member of the River Murray Water Committee of the Murray Darling Basin Authority.

For 10 years he has been a director of SGM Consulting specialising in dam safety management advisory services and is also now a Board Member of Dams Safety NSW. He was a Board member of the Queensland Bulk Water Supply Authority (Seqwater) for 6 years, one of the largest water authorities in Australia. Seqwater owns and operates 26 dams and 51 weirs.

Shane is a Fellow of the Institution of Engineers, Australia, a Chartered Professional Engineer and a Registered Professional Engineer of Victoria and Queensland.