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This page lists the guidelines and document to support dam owners to manage their dams.

All dams

Appropriate setback distances near dams

The guidance note is an aid to planning practitioners, developers, dam owners and regulators in ensuring an appropriate setback distance is maintained between a dam and new development or dam construction.

The purpose of the setback is to provide an accessible zone from the dam in the event of a dam safety incident or emergency, ongoing maintenance and safety management and space to implement dam safety upgrade works.

Engaging communities on dam safety – a guide for dam owners

This guideline aims to assist dam owners in incorporating community engagement into dam safety management.

It provides engagement principles for dam owners to consider. Some water corporations have generously shared their experiences in engagement in the guide. The guide refers to the International Association for Public Participation (IAP2) model for engagement.

Decommissioning dams – a guide for dam owners

As dams age and require significant upgrades, or when alternative cost-effective water supply arrangements are identified, decommissioning a dam can become a viable alternative.

This document outlines good practice measures when making a case to decommission a dam while identifying the needs of communities. The guide provides several case studies along with some lessons learnt.

Small dams

Your dam: Your responsibility

This document helps small dam owners, including farm dam owners, understand their responsibilities for planning, designing, operating and maintaining farm dams on their properties.

Dam safety emergency plan template

This template helps small dam owners, including farm dam owners, to develop a dam safety emergency plan. It provides instructions for different dam safety situations and has space to record important contact numbers for emergencies.

Dam safety emergency plan – a template for local government authorities

This template has been developed as a guide for local government authorities in preparing an emergency plan for a dam they own or manage. The template is structured to provide general information about the dam and action to be taken during an incident.

The template is better suited for owners of smaller dams.

Consequence screening tool

The consequence screening tool for small dams has been developed to simplify assigning consequence categories to small dams. It consists of explanatory notes and a spreadsheet.

The tool is broadly consistent with the initial consequence assessment level of the Australian National Committee on Large Dams (ANCOLD) Guidelines on the Consequence Categories for Dams 2012.

The consequence category obtained using the screening tool provides a basis for identifying the dam safety management requirements of small dams that require a licence under section 67 of the Water Act 1989.

Where the screening tool assesses that a dam may be potentially hazardous to downstream communities, the dam's owner is required to engage a suitably qualified engineer to undertake a more detailed consequence category assessment of the dam. The dam owner should also seek the assistance of the engineer to develop and implement a dam safety management plan or a program.

Dam safety surveillance plan

The dam safety surveillance plan has been prepared to assist small dam owners in meeting their obligations under licence conditions.

This plan provides details of how the owner of a small dam can monitor and evaluate its performance. It applies to very low, low or significant consequence category dams as defined in ANCOLD guidelines.

Large dams

Guidance note on dam safety decision principles

The guidance note on dam safety decision principles aims to help dam owners and managers make key dam safety investment decisions. It provides guidance on reducing risks to dam safety through focused and proportionate investment. It aims to promote transparent decision-making processes for making efficient safety decisions.

The guidance note supplements existing guiding documentation, including the regulatory instruments, ANCOLD guidelines and other publications. While primarily directed towards Victorian water corporations, many of the principles outlined in this document are relevant to other owners and managers of potentially hazardous dams.

Using rainfall forecasts to make releases from dams

The guideline will assist dam owners in setting policies and procedures to use rainfall forecasts in making flow release decisions.

The guideline considers relevant legislation and regulatory requirements, flood forecasting systems, seasonal target curves, pre-releases and emerging practices for informed decision-making that will assist dam owners in considering a broad range of forecasting approaches during the management of floods.

Page last updated: 11/06/24