2009 – A Review of the Limitations and Options for Dam Safety Management beyond the ANCOLD Guidelines

Giovanni De Cataldo

The ANCOLD Guidelines on Dam Safety Management August 2003 were formulated to ensure that dam owners adopt a responsible approach towards the safe operation and maintenance of their dams.

Is it possible to safely, responsibly and acceptably work outside the regulatory Guidelines/Requirements?

The challenge for dam owners now and into the future in meeting stringent standards, is to cost effectively manage their assets within available financial constraints whilst minimising risks and maintaining acceptable levels of safety.

With the continuing drought and suppressed storage levels in most dams, the risk to downstream communities and to the environment from dam failure is significantly reduced.

Based on various studies, investigations, internal workshops and external “Expert Panel” reviews, this paper puts forward a case for a sound and responsible risk-based approach to routine visual and surveillance monitoring frequencies at varying storage levels for “Sunny Day” conditions and compares it against traditional ANCOLD standards which are based solely on consequences.

Keywords: State Water Corporation, ANCOLD guidelines, risk-based approach, dam safety, regulator.

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