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Keeping New Zealand’s large dams safe

The Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) has opened consultation on proposed safety regulations for New Zealand’s large dams, to ensure dam safety regulation is robust and in line with internationally recognised best practice.

“The regulations will introduce a nationally consistent approach to dam safety that will protect people, property and the environment from the potential impact of a failure of a large dam,” says Katrina Quickenden, National Manager of Building Policy at MBIE.

The Building Act regulates the construction of a dam structure and a building consent is required for all large dams but Ms Quickenden says “There is currently no national level dam safety scheme in force in New Zealand to ensure that dams are well maintained, regularly monitored and that the potential risks of dam failure are reduced.”

“Currently, any inspection and maintenance carried out by dam owners after construction is done voluntarily, unless there are resource consent conditions, which means practice is inconsistent.

“The regulatory proposals in the discussion paper are based on internationally reviewed guidelines written by the New Zealand Society on Large Dams (NZSOLD) and will be administered by regional authorities.

“Owners of large dams and anyone with an interest in dam safety should ensure they have a say on the proposed dam safety regulations,” Ms Quickenden says.

The consultation will close on 6 August 2019.


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