2006 – Emergency Action Planning for SunWater Dams

A. Khan

SunWater manages its portfolio of 29 major dams through 6 business centres each responsible for the Dam Safety Program for the dams under its management control.

The effectiveness of responses during an emergency depends on the amount of planning and training performed. Management must show its support for dam safety programs and the importance of emergency planning.

If management is not interested in community protection and in minimising property loss, little can be done to promote dam safety. It is therefore management’s responsibility to see that a program is instituted and that it is frequently reviewed and updated.

The input and support of all communities must be obtained to ensure an effective program. The emergency response plan should be developed locally and should be comprehensive enough to deal with all types of emergencies specific to that site.

SunWater is a responsible dam owner and has recently upgraded all its emergency action plans in consultation with emergency services of Queensland. This paper details the basic steps to handle emergencies of water infrastructure. These emergencies include inflow floods, rapid drawdown, earthquake, sunny day failure, changes in reservoir water quality and terrorist attacks including hoax.

This paper is intended to assist small dam owners that do not have dam safety programs in place. It is not intended as an all inclusive safety program but rather a provision of guidelines for planning for emergencies.

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