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7.analysis and

  1. 1. The current issue and full text archive of this journal is available at www.emeraldinsight.com/1463-5771.htm International Analysis and application dam safety of international dam safety policy policy benchmarks 301 Joanne Tingey-Holyoak, John D. Pisaniello and Roger L. Burritt School of Commerce, Centre for Accounting, Governance and Sustainability, University of South Australia, Adelaide, AustraliaAbstractPurpose – Farm dam safety in Australia is being flouted and sustainability of catchmentscompromised because of the potential and severe consequences of dam failure. Hence, the purpose ofthis paper is to explore policy issues associated with safety of farm dam water storage through acomparison of developments in two Australian states against an analysis of international benchmarksand to provide an exemplar of best practice.Design/methodology/approach – A strategic review and content analysis is firstly undertaken toestablish international dam safety policy benchmarks ranging from minimum to best practice as wellas selection guidelines for varying circumstances, and to identify an exemplar best practice model.Longitudinal study over a 12-year period then provides the basis for case analysis in order to reinforcethe established minimum level benchmark and to demonstrate the application of the benchmarkedmodel policy selection guidelines.Findings – Research results show that in Australia, South Australia is lagging internationalbenchmarks for on-farm dam safety management in a number of ways whilst a second state, Tasmania,provides leadership in this respect. The paper adds to the existing international benchmarking literatureby identifying updated international best practice in private/farm dam safety assurance policy whilstestablishing and providing longitudinal case study reinforcement for an acceptable minimum levelbenchmark in this area. The updated policy guidelines presented can be used to determine appropriatedam safety policy for any jurisdiction.Originality/value – The paper provides an original contribution of analysis, establishment and casestudy validation of international benchmarks and guidelines on developing appropriate dam safetymanagement and assurance policy for varying jurisdictional circumstances. In addition, it provides anupdated exemplar of how policy benchmarks can go towards addressing cumulative threats of smallerdams in catchments not previously addressed.Keywords Farms, Dams, Safety, Benchmarking, AustraliaPaper type Research paperThe Australian Research Council is acknowledged for its recent Discovery Project funding toenable the recent research into the novel topic of cumulative catchment threats arising from farmdams. The 1995 component of this study was undertaken as part of the Pisaniello (1997) doctoralstudies. These studies were made possible thanks to an Australian Postgraduate ResearchAward scholarship provided through the University of South Australia, supervision byProfessor John Argue and Professor Jennifer McKay, and global information system data Benchmarking: An International Journalsupplied by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources, SA Government, Australia. Vol. 18 No. 2, 2011The 2005-2007 components of this research were also made possible through University of South pp. 301-317 q Emerald Group Publishing LimitedAustralia internal funding. Appreciation to Arthur Spassis for his valuable field work and 1463-5771research assistance. DOI 10.1108/14635771111121720
  2. 2. BIJ 1. Introduction18,2 The process of benchmarking has been used extensively to implement a wide variety of internal management practices and techniques (Yasin, 2002). However, benchmarking has also been used to respond to external forces, such as regulators, to search for better practice and identify benchmarks that can be implemented in a target operating environment (Bowerman et al., 2002; Yasin, 2002) such as for farm dam safety302 management. There are an estimated 480,000 farm dams in Australia (Price et al., 2003) which demonstrates the scope of the problem when considering that thousands of dam structures have failed and many more pose significant safety threats (Pisaniello and McKay, 2007; Lave and Balvanyos, 2006). Failures of large dams are more spectacular and receive much more attention than those of smaller dams. However, small dam failures, particularly those of privately owned farm dams, occur far more frequently (Lewis and Harrison, 2002; Pisaniello, 1997; Pisaniello and McKay, 2007). Small dam failures internationally have had disastrous consequences (Silveira, 2008). For example, in China the Shimantan and Banquia dams failed in 1975 because of the cumulative failure of 60 smaller upstream dams, resulting in the death of 230,000 people (Fu and Qing, 1998). In Italy, the Stava dam near Trento failed in 1985 and while releasing only 180 ml of tailings material, it killed 268 people and caused serious environmental damage (Engels, 2005). In the USA, the 5 m Evans and Lockwood dams, which held only 89 and 39 ml of water, respectively, both collapsed in a cascade manner in 1989, killing two people (Graham, 1999). Graham’s (1999) study of dam failures in the USA that resulted in fatalities from 1960 to 1998, found that dams less than 15 m high (i.e. the typical height range of smaller private and/or farm dams) caused 88 percent of deaths. This demonstrates that without appropriate design, construction, maintenance and surveillance, poorly managed small dams pose both significant individual and cumulative/cascade threats, and can cause considerable human, property and environmental losses. Hence, this paper focuses on the appropriate management of private/farm dam structures and the provision of adequate safety assurance policy processes for achieving sustainable farming businesses as well as sustainable and safe catchments in the context of: . international benchmarks; and . developments in two states in Australia, Tasmania and South Australia, with contrasting practices. The research asks the core questions: RQ1. What are adequate minimum and best-practice dam safety policy benchmarks in private/farm dam catchment systems? RQ2. Which benchmarks are appropriate for varying jurisdictional circumstances? 2. Literature review – benchmarking dam safety management policy Governments around the world are encouraging the use of benchmarking across the broad range of their policy activities (Samuels, 1998; Holloway et al., 1998). However, the ability for government to benchmark policy has to be considered independently of the private sector benchmarking literature: the absence of true market competition for government makes motivators different from those for the private sector and thus this paper acknowledges the complexities of issues at play, particularly the heightened
  3. 3. accountability required (Bowerman et al., 2002). For dam safety policy, the baseline in Internationalmost countries, including Australia, is the owner responsibility that exists under dam safetycommon law to manage dams according to current standards (McKay and Pisaniello,1995; Pisaniello and McKay, 2007). In Australia, these standards are set by the policyAustralian National Committee on Large Dams (ANCOLD; see ANCOLD 2000a, b, 2003).However, many jurisdictions in Australia and overseas have found that it is not enoughto rely solely on common law responsibility and benchmarks must be set to protect 303downstream communities, property and the environment from poor dam safetymanagement practices (Li et al., 2008; Pisaniello and McKay, 2007; Pisaniello, 2009).A number of management mechanisms in addition to Common Law and statutorycommand and control are available to ensure dam safety. However, determining themost appropriate combination of management mechanisms to meet policy benchmarksfor different jurisdictions with different circumstances can present a number of issues.These issues are illustrated in the Australian context in the following sections.The available management mechanisms are discussed based on international review. The research draws broadly from benchmarking theory with a neo-institutionalfoundation, which allows for consideration of benchmarking motivations, processes andoutcomes (van Helden and Tillemam, 2005) in the dam safety management setting.Regulatory mix theory also forms part of the theoretical foundation as it describes therequirement for policy that can address multifaceted environmental challenges(Gunningham and Sinclair, 1999, 2002, 2006) and can assist in the creation of the optimalpolicy mix for dam safety, equity and sustainability in the face of environmental risk(Hartford, 2009). Therefore, the research also draws upon regulatory mix theory in orderto establish appropriate dam safety management benchmarks from “minimum” to“best practice” (Gunningham and Grabosky, 1998). From this theoretical platform,an international standard or benchmark is established against which the circumstancesof differing jurisdictions can be assessed for achieving adequate management.3. Establishing international benchmarks and standards for achieving“adequate” farm dam safety managementThe dam safety management and assurance practices of Australia, the USA, Canada, theUK, Finland, Portugal and South Africa have been comprehensively reviewed byPisaniello (1997) and Pisaniello and McKay (1998, 2007). This international review showsthat management schemes to control dam safety management vary between and withincountries. However, key components in certain practices can be identified. These includecommon law, legislation, command and control regulation, administration, registrationand classification of dams, surveillance, accounting and reporting, codes and/orstandards of conduct, community education and preparedness, punitive enforcement andowner education and guidance. Analysis of the above international review identifies three main independentmethods for providing increased dam safety assurance to the public: . Method 1 – owner education, encouragement and guidance. Providing guidelines and information publications to dam owners in the hope that they act responsibly and in line with the dictates of common law (Gunningham and Sinclair, 1999, 2002; Tietenberg and Wheeler, 2001). . Method 2 – community preparedness through emergency action plans (EAPs). Requiring the owners of all potentially hazardous dams to have EAPs in place
  4. 4. BIJ by law (Pisaniello and McKay, 2007). This also requires the establishment and18,2 maintenance of a dams register by government to enable mandating of Plans of increasing sophistication for increasing hazard potential (Pisaniello and McKay, 2007), whilst also enabling the general status of dam safety management to be kept in check. Such law satisfies the “Community Right to Know” principle as downstream communities are made aware of the risks and hazards they are living304 under and provided with the opportunity for escape in the event of dam failure (Gunningham and Grabosky, 1998). . Method 3 – command and control – strict regulation and supervision by means of dam safety legislation. Setting specific rules, de facto standards, codes and regulations on dam safety management which dam owners must follow by law, and providing for supervision to ensure compliance and provide a level of regulatory certainty (Gunningham and Grabosky, 1998; Eisner, 2004). All mechanisms can be included in an appropriate regulatory mix (Gunningham and Grabosky, 1998) designed to provide the basis for an international standard or benchmark against which the circumstances of differing jurisdictions for achieving adequate on-farm water storage safety management can be established (Schaltegger et al., 2003). Faced with the possibility of a crisis incorporating all three methods into a dam safety assurance policy would obviously provide maximum assurance to the public and would represent a best practice model. But theoretically it is possible to begin and even continue operating at the lowest possible benchmark of method 1 only (Gunningham and Sinclair, 1999). That is, in a voluntary setting, to educate with information (e.g. accounting information) and encourage community preparation, then if and when the farmer is seen to be behaving badly, command and control regulation is brought in along with associated penalties for poor behaviour. This process of increasing regulation and penalties as behaviour is seen by the regulator to deteriorate suggests that theoretically the minimum could be method 1 – where voluntary action by the farmer to “do the right thing” is relied upon. The best outcome is not necessarily use of methods 2 and 3 if the voluntary approach is working. However, in practice previous work in the dam safety area suggests that methods 1 plus 2 are the lowest possible standard required for a minimum level benchmark (Pisaniello and McKay, 1998, 2007). Hence, a discrepancy exists between theory and practice. This paper therefore considers whether a voluntary/educative mechanism (i.e. method 1) alone could actually provide for the community right to know element of method 2, and thus make method 1 an acceptable minimum level benchmark (as suggested by regulatory mix theory) by asking the following research sub-question: is a purely voluntary/educative mechanism (method 1) acceptable as a minimum benchmark or does it always need to be supplemented by at least community right to know legislation (method 2)? This sub-question is firstly answered through an analysis of theory and logic and then supported by longitudinal case study evidence as follows. An “acceptable” minimum level benchmark for areas where hazardous dams exist would be for owners always to be educated and guided on their common law responsibilities and liabilities, for government to maintain a register of dams to enable the status of dam safety management to be kept in check and for downstream communities to at least know the risks and hazards they are living under and be provided with the opportunity for salvation in the event of a disaster. This should be set as the minimum
  5. 5. level benchmark for two reasons. First, in order to provide for adequate public protection, Internationalit is always paramount for downstream communities to be prepared, warned andprovided with the opportunity for salvation in the event of dam failure – this under no dam safetycircumstances should be left to chance (i.e. under a purely voluntary regime) as it is akin policyto a basic human right in line with the community right to know principle (Sand, 2002[1];Pisaniello and McKay, 1998, 2007). Second, a need always to keep check of dampopulation and safety status in a jurisdiction as catchment circumstances are continually 305changing because new dams are being built and new communities may form downstreamof dams – such a checking mechanism cannot be properly provided in a purelyvoluntary/educative regime. In fact, the need for such a checking mechanism is explicitwithin the regulatory mix theory (Gunningham and Grabosky, 1998; Gunningham andSinclair, 1999, 2006), i.e. how can regulation be ramped up as “determined” necessary ifthere is no register for a checking mechanism to make the determination? Therefore,a dam safety assurance policy should always incorporate both the first and secondmethods in any area where hazardous dams exist, and safety accountability is implicated.This proposition is supported by the case study in Section 5.0. This “reasonable”minimum level benchmark provides the basis for establishing a range of policy modelsappropriate for varying circumstances. Essentially, the models comprise the following: . Minimum practice – methods 1 plus 2 (i.e. the minimum level benchmark). . Average practice – methods 1 plus 2 plus some element(s) of 3. . Best practice – methods 1 plus 2 plus 3 (i.e. the best practice benchmark).The main characteristics of each of the above-selected international practices areanalysed by Pisaniello (1997) and Pisaniello and McKay (1998, 2007), to identifyelemental benchmarks of “better” practice. In turn, these elements are used to developdetailed policy models of “best”, “average” and “minimum” practice in line with the modelbenchmarks developed. In Table I, elements of each policy model are identified under theminimum, average and best practice model benchmarks (established above) forapplication in any jurisdiction. Then for a government to determine the extent of privatedam safety assurance policy necessary for its particular jurisdiction (i.e. which of thethree models presented in Table I) requires an indication of the scope of the local damsafety problem. Pisaniello (1997) identifies two main indicators that have been used byinternational practices for this purpose): . Level 1 Indicator. Density of potentially hazardous reservoirs. . Level 2 Indicator. Density of deficient potentially hazardous reservoirs.The first-level indicator is the simplest to use, requiring the least effort and resources.Dams merely have to be identified from aerial photography, assessed for potentialdownstream consequences in the event of failure and then assigned a subjective hazardrating. The second-level indicator requires much more effort and resources as a safetyevaluation of each dam must be conducted, but it provides more accurate indication ofthe problem at hand. However, because of the significant advances made in the fields ofmeteorology and flood hydrology, updated design floods are commonly found tobe considerably greater than the floods which could cause failure of existing dams.As a result, most existing dams will have insufficient spillway capacities when reviewed(Pisaniello, 1997, 2009; Pisaniello and McKay, 2007) – this is also demonstrated
  6. 6. BIJ 18,2 306 Table I. their elements Model benchmarks and Minimum practice model Average practice model Best practice modelaOwner education and guidance Provide for extensive owner education As per minimum practice model Dam owners need to be educated to and guidance to help owners understand understand their responsibilities and their common law responsibilities and liabilities associated with their dams in liabilities associated with their dams and line with both common law and the to strongly encourage surveillance and prevailing dam safety regulations. maintenance of dams by producing and Education and guidance are often promoting guideline publications in line provided through guidelines (ANCOLD, with ANCOLD (2003) 2003)Registration and classification of Require local government authorities to As per minimum practice model Establish and maintain a register ofdams maintain registration of at least high and “applicable dams” that should be significant hazard dams, and provide regulated, based on a minimum size data for central government to monitor criteria and using a permit or licensing the density of potentially hazardous system. Also, assign general hazard dams ratings based on a three-level hazard rating system (ANCOLD, 2003)Community education and Provisions of the community “right to As per minimum practice model Provide for community education,preparedness know” principle are mandated by law awareness and preparedness through the and administered by, say, local requirement of EAP for all high and governments. The owners of high and significant hazard dams. Such plans significant hazard dams are required to informs all people living downstream of provide for EAPs checked by state hazardous dams of the risks and hazards emergency services under which they are living. Furthermore, the plans provide an opportunity for escape in the event of failureLegislative purposiveness None Establish enabling legislation which at Create dam safety legislation either in the least provides power to local government form of specific or enabling legislation: authorities to question the safety of any specific legislation – where strict private dam and direct necessary owner provisions and regulations are action following approval from the established within a specific dam safety minister responsible for water resources act; enabling legislation – where provisions are incorporated within existing water law enabling dam safety management to be controlled (continued)
  7. 7. Minimum practice model Average practice model Best practice modelaAdministrative enforcement None None An administrative authority needs to be adequately empowered and sufficiently funded to enforce the legislation and any standards provided under regulationSurveillance, inspection and None None Require dam owners to arrange for asafety reviews minimum level of periodic surveillance and review of their dams by contracting experienced engineers and subsequently allocate responsibility for gathering data and reporting all information to the relevant enforcement authority. The enforcement authority must also periodically conduct formal inspections to review surveillance informationOwner responsibility with None None Establish an enforced level of ownerinformation responsibility with any information and material relating to the safety of their dams by requiring owners to maintain a special safety file that must be easily accessible to all concerned, especially when an accident threatensPunitive enforcement None None Attach, under legislation, criminal liability (and/or severe penalties) to any owners not willing to comply with either standard requirements, rules or regulations specified or promulgated under statute or directions given by an enforcement authority in line with statutory provisionsNote: aTasmania provides a good, modern example of a model of best practice as reported in Section 4.0Source: Adapted from Pisaniello (1997) International policy dam safety 307 Table I.
  8. 8. BIJ by the South Australian case study below (Section 5.0). Therefore, most governments18,2 would be content to make a decision based solely on the magnitude of the first indicator. At most, for additional reassurance that a problem does exist, a government may opt to initiate a small safety evaluation program based on only a sample of say, 10-20 private dams. Nevertheless, policy guidelines have been developed for both level 1 and level 2 indicators.308 In order to establish limiting indicator criteria (i.e. limiting values which would necessitate differing levels of policy), five leading international practices were analysed implicitly by Pisaniello (1997) with regard to: . the extent of the private dam safety problem in the area based on level 1 indicator and if available, also level 2 indicator; and . the level of assurance policy which has been implemented in order to accommodate it. The level of assurance policy was quantified as a proportion of the model of “best practice”, above, depending on the number of key elements of best practice that are common, and subsequently graded as either: “almost complete coincidence”, “substantial coincidence” or “moderate only coincidence”. From this analysis (Pisaniello, 1997; Pisaniello and McKay, 1998, 2007) two simple and “reasonable” generic precedents can be identified as follows: (1) a policy based on the model of “minimum practice” is acceptable only in countries or states containing not more than 20 hazardous private dams; and (2) a policy based on the model of “best practice” is only necessary where more than 70 hazardous private dams are contained within a country or state and where more than 20 of these are deficient in some manner. Cases which fall between these precedents can be dealt with under the provisions of the model of “average practice”. Based on these precedents, generic guidelines and criteria have been established for determining “appropriate” safety assurance policy for any jurisdiction, as presented in Table II. Tasmania has recently implemented dam safety management accountability and assurance policy that is in line with the international “best-practice” standard, and which targets the type of farm dam safety management issues identified here; hence, the Tasmanian example advances the policy benchmarking and selection guidelines represented by Tables I and II providing an exemplar for best practice. A review of the Tasmanian “model” policy is therefore warranted and follows. 4. A “model” best practice approach from Tasmania Tasmania has over 30 percent of Australia’s total water storage capacity, including thousands of farm dams, and in the last few years there has been a large expansion of storages for irrigation underway, to support sustainable agricultural production (DPIWE, 2005). Hence, the Tasmanian Government tightened legislative controls to ensure the safety of dams. This was achieved in late 2002 by amending the Water Management Act 1999, and the following year by passing the Water Management (Safety of Dams) Regulations 2003, which now operate across the state.
  9. 9. No. of potentially hazardous No. of deficientb potentiallyprivate damsa hazardous private dams Equivalent policy model to be implementedc.70 . 20 Best practice modeld.70 , ¼ 20 Average practice model (review situation in 15 years) Average practice model (but review no. of deficient dams in five years:20-70 . 20 if still . 20, upgrade to best practice)20-70 10-20 Average practice model (review situation in 15 years)20-70 , 10 Minimum practice model (review in ten years),20 .2 Minimum practice model (review in five years) Do nothing – advise owners of the deficient dams of their,20 0, 1 or 2 responsibility under common law (review situation in ten years) aNotes: This refers to the total number of potentially hazardous private dams contained within a country or state; for primary exploration, “potentiallyhazardous dams” can be taken as those which are significant in size and pose either a high or significant hazard potential (i.e. in accordance withANCOLD (2000a, b) classifications); secondary consideration should then also be given to smaller catchment dams that pose cumulative flood threatswithin catchments; government would have to establish an inventory of all such dams in a region if one is not already in place; bdeficiency can result fromeither inadequate structural integrity, insufficient spillway flood capability or inadequate earthquake resistivity, as determined from a safety review; thesafety review undertaken in the SA case study (Section 5.0) illustrates this. A cost effective spillway review procedure that is in line with modernengineering practice has been developed (Pisaniello and McKay, 2007) and can be used for this purpose; review can be undertaken on a sample of, at leastten potentially hazardous private dams in a region (rather than the entire population), and the resulting percent that are found to be inadequate can betranslated to the overall population; note that the level 2 indicator guidelines are not intended to provide a basis for “relaxing” existing policy once thenumber of deficient dams is reduced; they are merely intended to act as an initial guide for states which are either “policy absent” or “policy deficient”; cthekey elements for each policy model are available in Table I, See also Pisaniello and McKay (1998, 2007) for further details of these elements; Tasmaniaprovides a good, modern example of a model of best practice as reported in Section 4.0; dif there has been no prior provision of methods 1 and 2,government could start with a model of average practice, and review the situation in five years to check if the situation has improved; if the situation hasimproved enough within the criteria of these guidelines, then policy can remain with average practice model, otherwise there is a need to ramp up to thebest practice model (as demonstrated to be needed in the SA case study, see Section 5.0)Sources: Adapted from Pisaniello (1997); Pisaniello and McKay (1998) International policy for any jurisdiction Updated guidelines dam safety assurance “appropriate” private for determining policy dam safety 309 Table II.
  10. 10. BIJ Tasmania is the only state in Australia to acknowledge that, because of potential cascade/cumulative threats, even small, low hazard dams must be registered and18,2 supervised, albeit to a modest extent. To this end, Tasmanian policy imposes some form of dam safety management accountability upon the owners of all dam storages down to as small as 1 ml. The key elements of the Tasmanian legislation relevant to farm dam safety management, accounting and reporting are briefly analysed here.310 Section 165G of the Tasmanian Water Management Act 1999 expressly imposes a duty on all dam owners to, as far as is reasonably practicable, maintain and operate their dams so as not to cause, or be likely to cause, material environmental harm or serious environmental harm or danger to any person or property. Part 8A of the act gives wide powers to the minister to supervise and assure the safety of all registered dams and that owners are not in breach of their duty. As part of this role, the minister has specific functions under the act (Section 165C) which include: . maintaining a register of all dams; . ensuring all dams comply with requisite standards of design, construction, maintenance and review as specified under the regulations; and . obtaining information and keeping records on matters relating to the safety of dams. In order to account for the safety management of their dams, dam owners are obligated to provide information (i.e. reporting) on their dams either as a condition of a permit under Section 157 of the Act or from a direct order from the minister under various other sections relating mainly to ongoing surveillance and maintenance (e.g. Sections 165F (2), 165H, 165J, 165L, 165M, or 165N). All standards of design and safety management must comply with ANCOLD guidelines: this includes spillway design standards (ANCOLD, 2000b), the frequency and thoroughness of surveillance and review and any requirements for EAPs (ANCOLD, 2003). These physical guidelines are generally in line with international benchmarks as determined by Pisaniello and McKay (2007). Overall, Tasmanian policy encompasses dams, large and small, of lower and greater hazard and sets out levels of safety surveillance (see Water Management (Safety of Dams) Regulations, 2003, Section 7). To avoid placing significant cost on owners smaller, less hazardous dams do not require sophisticated engineering reports; owners may prepare the report with a guided pro-forma (DPIW, 2009: a copy of this pro forma is available in Appendix 3 of DPIW, 2009). This assists in keeping the cascade/cumulative threats of smaller catchment dams in check which is a key contribution towards the best practice benchmark established above. 5. Farm dam safety in South Australia This section shows that safety of farm dams has long been an issue in South Australia, but that it has been met by dogged resistance to change, as cases document over a 12-year period. South Australia has many farm dam storages. There are over 22,000 in the Mount Lofty Ranges alone (McMurray, 2004, p. 5) many of which represent considerable hazard potential (Pisaniello, 1997). However, dam safety assurance policy remains limited. There are no statutory provisions in place to ensure either adequate dam design and construction or adequate supervision and maintenance of private dams. This is the situation despite ongoing evidence and warnings over the past two decades.
  11. 11. 5.1 A 12-year demonstrative case study InternationalPisaniello (1997) undertook case studies of hazardous private dams in the Mount Lofty dam safetyRanges of South Australia to test their condition and general maintenance. Over100 farm dams were identified as having at least significant hazard potential per policyANCOLD (1994) guidelines. In 1995, 11 hazardous earthen farm dams were randomlyselected for investigation (Table III). Detailed inspections were made of each sampledam’s general condition and apparent maintenance. In 2007, permission was given to 311revisit only five of the dams in Table III (marked with superscript “b”). Site inspectionsre-affirmed their hazard ratings against the updated ANCOLD (2000b) guidelines andprovided results for comparison with the 1995 data. The inspections explored whetherdams met the basic ANCOLD (1994) requirements, which are now found in ANCOLD(2003). Any potential problems or basic limitations associated with owner managementpractices were noted. A summary of these results is provided in Table III. As part of the 1995 inspections, the spillways of the dams were also measured in orderto test their flood capabilities against ANCOLD guidelines (Table IV). In 2005, spillwaymeasurements were repeated for five dam cases (marked with superscript “b” in Table IV).The flood capability assessments were undertaken in accordance with modern bestpractice engineering processes as detailed in Australian Rainfall and Runoff (IEAust,1987, 1999). A summary of the flood capability results is presented in Table IV.5.2 Investigative results and analysisThe condition of the dams and apparent levels of maintenance varied but many basicdeficiencies were common. These included purposefully blocked spillways usingobstructions such as sandbags, severely diminishing dam capability to safely withstandfloods, and trees and vegetation allowed to grow out of the embankment which increasesthe likelihood of dam leakage and failure by piping. The results in Table III demonstratethat most of the selected dams in 1995 were deficient in some ways. In fact, nine (82 percent)were rated unacceptable, five of these being “high hazard”. For the five dams re-inspectedin 2007, where four of these are high hazard, the deficiencies remain in every case and inmost cases were worse. In none of the cases have EAPs of any form been provided. Thedire situation prevails when looking at the flood capabilities of the dams as presented inTable IV. In 1995, ten (91 per cent) of the dams were unacceptable compared to ANCOLDguidelines. In fact, the flood capabilities of three of the six high hazard dams (50 percent)did not even satisfy the required ANCOLD criteria for low hazard dams (i.e. minimum 1 in100 AEP). For the five dams which had their spillways re-assessed in 2005, the situationonly got worse in most cases, and where any improvement was observed it was no-wherenear sufficient to meet ANCOLD requirements. The owners of the dams surveyed in 1995 were repeatedly warned of the problems bythe local council. In subsequent years, much encouragement and guidance to review,maintain and upgrade dams in cost-effective ways have been made available to farmersin SA (see Pisaniello and McKay, 2007 for details), but the results of the surveysundertaken in 2007 show that none of the identified problems had been rectified in the12-year period. This result confirms that these owners have, in the past 12 years, ignoredthe warnings on their dams’ risks and hazards, as well as their common lawresponsibility to maintain them. This demonstrates clearly that the need for some formof private dam safety assurance policy in South Australia in accordance with Table II isurgent.
  12. 12. BIJ 18,2 312 Table III. over 12 years Rated summary of level of sample dams condition/maintenance Hazard 1995 condition/ 1995 1995 2007 condition/ 2007 2007 ratinga Max. maintenance level any acceptability maintenance level any acceptability Condition/ (high, dam Storage When rating (good, EAP per ANCOLD rating (good, EAP per ANCOLD maintenanceDam sig. or height capacity built reasonable, poor, or in (1994) reasonable, poor, or in (1994/2003) level change no. low) (m) (ml) (year) very poor) place? guidelines very poor) place? guidelines in 12 years 1 High 7.8 147 1968 Good No Acceptable n/a n/a n/a n/a 2b High 9.2 83 1990 Very poor No Unacceptable Very poor No Unacceptable Worse 3b High 10.5 249 1939 Poor No Unacceptable Poor No Unacceptable Unchanged 4b High 9.0 89 1967 Poor No Unacceptable Very poor No Unacceptable Much worse Pre- 5 High 8.0 162 1970 Poor No Unacceptable n/a n/a n/a n/a 6b High 10.7 50 1975 Very poor No Unacceptable Very poor No Unacceptable Worse 7 Sig. 8.1 177 1980 Reasonable No Acceptable n/a n/a n/a n/a Pre- 8 Sig. 7.5 60 1970 Very poor No Unacceptable n/a n/a n/a n/a Pre- 9 Sig. 5.5 54 1970 Very poor No Unacceptable n/a n/a n/a n/a Pre-10 Sig. 6.6 103 1970 Very poor No Unacceptable n/a n/a n/a n/a11b Sig. 8.4 70 1965 Very poor No Unacceptable Very poor No Unacceptable WorseNotes: aIn accordance with ANCOLD (1994) guidelines, and more recently in accordance with ANCOLD (2000b, 2003) guidelines; bthe only five dams forwhich permission could be gained to re-inspect in 2007
  13. 13. ANCOLD guidelines (1986, 2000a) minimum Hazard rating acceptable flood 1995 actual dam 1995 acceptability 2005 actual dam 2005 acceptability Flood capabilityDam (high, sig. or capability 1/AEPa flood capability per ANCOLD flood capability per ANCOLD change inno. low) (years) 1/AEPa (years) guidelines 1/AEPa (years) guidelines 12 years 1 High 10,000 40 Unacceptable n/a n/a n/a 2b High 10,000 80 Unacceptable 280 Unacceptable Insufficiently improved 3 High 10,000 97 Unacceptable n/a n/a n/a 4b High 10,000 150 Unacceptable 310 Unacceptable Insufficiently improved 5b High 10,000 320 Unacceptable 110 Unacceptable Worse 6b High 10,000 2,750 Unacceptable 210 Unacceptable Much worse 7 Sig. 1,000 190 Unacceptable n/a n/a n/a 8 Sig. 1,000 130 Unacceptable n/a n/a n/a 9 Sig. 1,000 280 Unacceptable n/a n/a n/a10 Sig. 1,000 500 Unacceptable n/a n/a n/a11b Sig. 1,000 1,400 Acceptable 90 Unacceptable Much worseNotes: aAEP – annual exceedance probability; bthe only five sample dams for which the spillways were re-measured in 2005 International of sample dams against Flood capability results ANCOLD guidelines over ten years policy dam safety 313 Table IV.
  14. 14. BIJ 6. Discussion18,2 Appropriate dam safety policy for any jurisdiction can be determined using the policy benchmarks and guidelines presented in Section 3.0. The analysis and application of the benchmarks answer the core research questions presented in Section 1.0. Tasmanian policy represents the best practice benchmark policy model for other states in Australia. The consideration of the two states highlights the substantial safety risks that are314 associated with large and small dams, high and low hazard, if they are improperly managed structures. Such risks arise at the individual and cumulative levels within catchments and are magnified by the attitudes, behaviours and practices of dam owners and the responses of policy makers; demonstrated here by both overseas and local experiences with dam failures and the South Australian case studies on dam safety management. The SA case study also provides evidence towards the sub research question presented and answered in Section 3.0 – that for an acceptable minimum level benchmark in this area a voluntary/educative mechanism (method 1) does always have to be supplemented by at least community right to know legislation (method 2), as suggested by Pisaniello and McKay (1998, 2007). This is because as evidenced in SA, no matter how much education and guidance is provided, farmers cannot be relied upon to manage their dams properly let alone provide for “community right to know” of their own fruition. The SA case study also demonstrates the application of the benchmarked policy selection guidelines. When the above results from SA (Section 5.0) are applied to Table II a model of “best practice” is clearly warranted given that SA has at least 100 potentially hazardous private dams (i.e. level 1 indication) and over 80 of these would be inadequate both for structural integrity and for spillway capability (i.e. level 2 indication based on translating the case studies sample results to the entire population). The case study also indicates there is no benefit to starting with a lower, more voluntary benchmark (as per Table II final footnote) as its longitudinal basis means that farmers have already been informed and educated over a 12-year period without response. In practice, in order to stimulate progress in SA to follow the path of the international and Tasmanian benchmarks, there is a need for political will guided by appropriate data. In order to gain the requisite political will, there is need to understand and change attitudes, complacency and perceptions of all stakeholders involved, as well as understand any other interrelated factors, e.g. technological, regulatory, economic, environmental and social issues, including cultural habits and conflicting values and interests. 7. Conclusions The paper addresses the core research questions RQ1 and RQ2. It models adequate minimum and best-practice benchmarks in private/farm dam catchment systems, and the benchmarks appropriate for varying jurisdictional circumstances. The paper also answers RQ2 by providing evidence to suggest that a purely voluntary/educative mechanism is unacceptable as a minimum benchmark and always needs to be supplemented by at least community right to know legislation. International benchmarks and updated guidelines on developing appropriate private dam safety management accountability and assurance policy for varying jurisdictional circumstances have been established here. Such guidelines are based on international experience and best practice, and dam safety programs that are workable and not too costly. Tasmania provides an exemplar of an Australian jurisdiction that is in line with these guidelines and is proactively addressing
  15. 15. private dam safety issues, including the management of both individual and cumulative Internationaldam safety threats and the development of the cost-effective engineering/accounting dam safetytechnology. Since it is the role of government to protect the community, government mustbe encouraged to provide appropriate management and policies, as discussed in this policypaper, which assure the community that owner accountability and participation protectagainst unacceptable dam safety management practices. 315Note 1. Emergency Planning and Community Right to Know Act 1986 which establishes a Toxics Release Inventory, in addition to at least 25 US States’ ‘right to know’ laws- the US experience is what prompted Australia to also establish the Pollutant Release and Transfer Register in the late 1990s.ReferencesANCOLD (1986), Guidelines on Design Floods for Dams, Australian National Committee on Large Dams, Hobart.ANCOLD (1994), Guidelines on Dam Safety Management, Australian National Committee on Large Dams, Hobart.ANCOLD (2000a), Guidelines on Selection of Acceptable Flood Capacity for Dams, Australian National Committee on Large Dams, Hobart.ANCOLD (2000b), Guidelines on Assessment of the Consequences of Dam Failure, Australian National Committee on Large Dams, Hobart.ANCOLD (2003), Guidelines on Dam Safety Management, Australian National Committee on Large Dams, Hobart.Bowerman, M., Francis, G., Ball, A. and Fry, J. (2002), “The evolution of benchmarking in UK local authorities”, Benchmarking: An International Journal, Vol. 9 No. 5, pp. 429-49.DPIW (2009), Dam Safety Surveillance Reporting Guidelines, Department of Primary Industries and Water, Hobart, available at: www.stors.tas.gov.au/au-7-0054-00316DPIWE (2005), “Report on the operation of the Water Management Act 1999”, Report by Water Resources Division, Department of Primary Industries, Water and Environment, Hobart.Eisner, M.A. (2004), “Corporate environmentalism, regulatory reform, and industry self-regulation: toward genuine regulatory reinvention in the United States”, Governance: An International Journal of Policy, Administration, and Institutions, Vol. 17 No. 2, pp. 145-67.Engels, J. (2005), “Stava tailings dam failure near Trento Italy, Tailings”, available at: www. tailings.info/stava.htmFu, S. and Qing, D. (1998), “A profile of dams in China”, in Thibodeau, J.G. and Williams, P.B. (Eds), The River Dragon Has Come! The Three Gorges Dam and the Fate of China’s Yangtze River and Its People, Ch. 2, Probe International and International Rivers Network, Armonk, NY.Graham, W.J. (1999), “A procedure for estimating loss of life caused by dam failure”, Office, Report DSO-99-06, United States Department of Interior, Bureau of Reclamation, Dam Safety, Denver.Gunningham, N. and Grabosky, P. (1998), Smart Regulation: Designing Environmental Policy, Oxford University Press, Oxford.
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  17. 17. Silveira, J.F.A. (2008), “Introduction to status quo of small dam safety management”, Chinese International Journal of Geotechnical Engineering, Vol. 30 No. 11, pp. 1713-21.Tietenberg, T. and Wheeler, D. (2001), “Empowering the community: information strategies dam safety for pollution control”, in Folmer, H. (Ed.), Frontiers of Environmental Economics, policy Edward Elgar, Cheltenham.van Helden, G.J. and Tillema, S. (2005), “In search of a benchmarking theory for the public sector”, Financial Accountability & Management, Vol. 21 No. 3, pp. 337-61. 317Water Management Act 1999 (Tas) (1999), Parliament of Tasmania, Hobart, Australia.Water Management (Safety of Dams) Regulations 2003 (Tas) (2003), Parliament of Tasmania, Hobart, Australia.Yasin, M.M. (2002), “The theory and practice of benchmarking: then and now”, Benchmarking: An International Journal, Vol. 9 No. 3, pp. 217-43.Corresponding authorJoanne Tingey-Holyoak can be contacted at: Joanne.Tingey@unisa.edu.auTo purchase reprints of this article please e-mail: reprints@emeraldinsight.comOr visit our web site for further details: www.emeraldinsight.com/reprints

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