Page content Page content Section navigation Topic navigation Accessibility keys Sitemap Search Contact us www.govt.nz portal
Go to Waikato Regional Council homepage
search icon mail icon contact us icon

  Services » Regional Services » Consents and compliance » Dams, safety requirements and consents » Ongoing responsibilities of owners

Ongoing responsibilities of owners

What were the responsibilities intended for dams under the Building Act?

The intent of the Building Act 2004 (the Act) is to ensure that buildings, including dams, are designed and built right the first time (please refer to, “what you need to know’, for definitions of dams and large dams, to determine whether the Act affects you).

The Act aims to provide a clear and comprehensive regulatory scheme for ongoing dam safety management, particularly for larger dams.

The key factors that have influenced Government’s decision to bring in a more structured regulatory scheme for larger dams relate to:

  • dams sometimes fail and there is the potential for loss of life and property damage resulting from dam failure
  • once constructed and commissioned, dams need ongoing monitoring, maintenance and repair in order to maintain their integrity
  • the changing nature of public ownership and commercial arrangements for owning, operating and managing dams require a more structured and formal system of compliance monitoring to ensure the safety of dams.

What is the current status of the proposed dam safety scheme

The dam safety provisions of the Act were originally due to come into force on the 1 July 2010. In the interim, the commencement date was repeatedly deferred, and in June 2015 the Government revoked the Building (Dam Safety) Regulations 2008, effective from 30 June 2015.

While we understand MBIE subsequently convened a working party with MBIE and MfE officials to explore alternative options for this dam safety scheme, recent changes in Government have meant there has been little progress with this.

What does this mean for dam owners?

While there is currently no legislative frame-work for dam owners in New Zealand, we refer all dam owners to the New Zealand Society of Large Dams (NZSOLD) Dam Safety Guidelines, Module 5 “Dam Safety Management”(external link).

In particular we note the following principles:-

  • The responsibility of the dam rest with the Owner. (Principle 4)
  • A dam safety management system, commensurate with the consequences of dam failure and incorporating policies, procedures and responsibilities, should be in place for all dams. Principle 5;
  • All reasonable efforts should be made to mitigate accidental releases, dam safety incidennts and dam failures. (Principle 6)
About this site     Contact us     Feedback and complaints New Zealand Government