A number of horrific failures of both public and privately owned dams in recent decades has triggered serious concern over the safety of dams throughout the world. However, in Australia, although much Government attention is being devoted to the medium- to large-scale dams, minimal attention is being paid to the serious potential cumulative, catchment-wide problems associated with smaller private dams. The paper determines how to consider addressing hazardous private dam safety issues generally through a comparative analysis of international dam safety policy/law systems. The analysis has identified elements of best and minimum practice that can and do exist successfully to provide deserved assurance to the community of the proper safety management of hazardous private dams at both the individual and cumulative, catchment-wide levels. These elements provide benchmarks that enable ‘appropriate’ legislative arrangements to be determined for different jurisdictional circumstances as illustrated with an Australian policy-deficient case study.
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Up to1995and afterwards the specific dam safety Act was simply implanted into another “water” Act.
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