Dam Safety Scheme - Guidance for regional authorities and owners of large dams: About this guide
This guide aims to provide information on the Dam Safety Scheme (the Scheme), why it has been put in place and the requirements for maintaining and monitoring large dams.
The guide is aimed at:
- owners of large dams
- regional authorities (also known as regional councils).
The aim of this Scheme is to ensure that:
- owners of large dams understand and address the potential impacts of dam failure on downstream communities, infrastructure and the environment
- potential impacts are managed by implementing an approved and regularly audited Dam Safety Assurance Programme
- the Scheme is effectively administered by regional authorities.
1.1 Life of this guide
The content of this guide is based on the Building Act 2004 (the Act) as at July 2008, the Building (Dam Safety) Regulations 2008, the Building (Infringement Offences, Fees and Forms) Regulations 2007, Chartered Professional Engineers of New Zealand Act 2002 and the Chartered Professional Engineers of New Zealand Rules (No.2) 2002.
This is a general guide to the Act and the Building (Dam Safety) Regulations 2008 (the Regulations) and is not intended to replace them. While the Department of Building and Housing has taken great care in preparing this guide, it provides guidance only and should not be used to establish all the requirements of the Act on its own. Readers must refer to the Act and Regulations as their primary source documents, and be aware that, for specific situations or problems, it may be necessary to seek independent legal advice.
A copy of the Act and the Regulations can be downloaded from www.dbh.govt.nz/bofficials-dam-safety
1.3 Information in this guide
Section 2 of this guide provides the context or thinking behind the Act and the associated Regulations, and how they were developed.
Section 3 provides a summary of the Scheme, key definitions/concepts, and the requirements for large dam owners and regional authorities. It also explains the role and responsibilities of regional authorities, and the transfer arrangements of dam-related responsibilities from territorial authorities.
The detailed parts of this guide in sections 4 to 6 address the new regulatory requirements for owners of large dams, as well as for regional authorities.
Information is also given about the role of Recognised Engineers and the duties of regional authorities around dangerous dams, earthquakeprone dams, and flood-prone dams; and measures to remove immediate danger.
1.4 Consultation process
The framework of the Scheme was originally developed by the Department of Internal Affairs. The statutory part of the Scheme was subject to public consultation in 2002 as part of the select committee consideration of what became the Building Act 2004.
A more detailed consultation occurred in late June 2006, when the Department of Building and Housing issued the Regulations for the Dam Safety Scheme: Discussion Document. Responses were received from 58 organisations and individuals representing dam owners/operators or users, regional and territorial authorities, consultants, professional bodies, non-government agencies, government agencies and private individuals.
Stakeholders supported the proposed Regulations, with a number of comments made about minor technical issues and definitions. The Department of Building and Housing consulted the Regional Authority Working Group (RAWG) to ensure these issues were incorporated, where appropriate, into the Regulations.
1.5 What this guide does not cover
This guide focuses on the regulatory requirements of the Scheme. The following subjects may be mentioned but are not discussed in detail:
- functions and duties of building consent authorities around building controls
- building consent authority accreditation and registration
- regulation of small dams.
It is not the intention of this guide to cover all topics relating to large dams. The main aim of the guide is provide information that will help dam owners and regional authorities understand the size and type of dam that is classified as a large dam and the regulations that the owners of large dams must comply with.