2023 – PMP and Climate Change: Uncertainty and Implications for Dam Safety Management

M.Hughes, R.Sharpe, A.Duwell

An important consideration in dam risk studies and dam design is the concept of the ‘Probable Maximum Flood’ (PMF), which is an estimate of the largest possible flood at a particular location (i.e. a dam site). Recent hydrology research indicates that there will be an increase in Probable Maximum Precipitation (PMP) under climate change, which is expected to lead to a corresponding increase in the magnitude of the PMF under climate change. Sunwater must consider possible climate change impacts as required under dam safety regulation. However, how climate change should be considered is not clear.

This paper outlines recent climate change research and speculates on how it may impact Sunwater’s dam safety management program. Multiple dam related climate change adaptation guidelines are also reviewed in this paper to identify possible decision support tools for Sunwater. Finally, it is recommended that a decision support tool is developed to incorporate climate change adaptation principles into dam safety decision making.

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