2006 – Instrumentation and Monitoring of Large Dams: A Dam Safety Regulator’s View

Leonard A McDonald

Dam safety regulators look for evidence in support of the safety status of dams and to justify the need for safety improvements. Instrumentation and monitoring have a key role in providing the needed evidence.

In New South Wales, the Dams Safety Committee [the DSC] is the regulator of dam safety. The purposes of instrumentation and monitoring from the viewpoint of the DSC are set out, along with the current regulatory requirements in New South Wales. The relationship of instrumentation and monitoring to the tolerability of risk is discussed. There are remarks on some special considerations for a regulator and on the contemporary trend to remote sensing for the capture of information. Two case studies are described to show how instrumentation and monitoring has improved the understanding of dam behaviour. Some pitfalls to avoid are listed from DSC experience. Finally, there is an outline of matters that a regulator would see deserve attention if ANCOLD does undertake preparation of a guideline document on instrumentation and monitoring.

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