2018 – Current Australian and International Practices for Dam Failure Consequence Assessments

Simon Lang

Many Australian and international dam owners use risk assessments to understand and manage the societal risks posed by their dams. This requires estimates of dam failure consequences, particularly the potential loss of life (PLL). The methods used to assess PLL have become more varied and sophisticated in recent times. This paper summarises the current status of the methods most relevant to the Australian dams industry (i.e. RCEM, HEC-LifeSim, the Life Safety Model), and comments on their applicability for Australian PLL assessments. This commentary is based on material presented by dam owners, regulators, researchers and consultants from the United States, Canada, United Kingdom and the Netherlands, at workshops on estimating dam failure consequences held in Denver in 2016 and Toronto in 2018.

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