2012 – 15 Years of Experience with a Dam Improvement Program

Shane McGrath, Andrew Reynolds, Garry Fyfe, Chris Kelly, Steven Fox

Goulburn-Murray Water is a rural water corporation located in Northern Victoria. It has responsibility for 12 State dams and is also the constructing authority for the Murray Darling Basin Authority’s Victorian assets.

Over the past 15 years G-MW has been engaged in a dam improvement program across its portfolio. To date 14 individual projects have been undertaken at 11 dams. The total expenditure is $125 million.

Starting from a base level of data at its inception in 1997, the program has encompassed all facets required for a dam improvement program. From early prioritisation to set the investigation program, through design reviews and risk assessments to develop the upgrading program and subsequent implementation. Some elements of the program were at the leading edge of practice at the time and a range of experiences along the way were character building as dam safety investment challenged other corporate priorities.

This paper sets out the lessons learned in developing the methodology and implementing the program of works, particularly relating to corporate adoption of the program, organisational capability, investigations, risk assessments, design and implementation.

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