2022 – A comprehensive operational risk assessment framework for dam systems

Richard Mannix – HARC, Peter Hill – Dam Consulting Services (DCS),  Mark Foster -Dam Consulting Services (DCS), Sam Banzi – WaterNSW, Muhammad Hameed – WaterNSW

To date, the application of quantitative risk assessment to dams has tended to focus on failure of the dam structure, and particularly the associated life safety risk. There are however a range of other scenarios that have potential adverse outcomes that are difficult to capture in existing dam safety risk or corporate risk frameworks. It is clear that a more comprehensive approach to the assessment of risks posed by the operational aspects of dam infrastructure systems is needed which treats dams as a system of systems so that acute and latent risks that manifest from the physical and non-physical operational aspects can be identified, assessed and planned for on equal footing with catastrophic dam failure covered by the dam safety quantitative risk assessment and with risks managed under other supporting business frameworks. This paper considers operational safety risk in broad terms and proposes an operational risk assessment (ORA) framework for dam systems that integrates dam safety risk and corporate risk criteria. The approach is consistent with ISO31000 and ANCOLD Risk Guidelines. This integrated risk approach brings the dam safety management system closer to the safety case model.

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