If you have a dam on your property, when was the last time you checked it was safe?
Dams can pose a safety threat to communities lower in the catchment if they fail and large volumes of water are released.
To help ensure this doesn’t happen, you should regularly inspect your dam and take action if you find there may be a problem. It can be helpful to do this in summer when water levels are low as it is easy to have access and you can better see the dam wall. It is also advisable to check after big rain events, if it is safe to do so.
Remember – if your dam fails you are accountable for any damage caused.
Here are some useful guides for preventing dam failures:
- Dam safety and maintenance factsheet for landholders (pdf): some easy tips to get started with maintenance and keep dams operational and safe.
- Dam safety and maintenance factsheet for contractors working with dams (pdf): to support experts who work with private dam landholders.
- Dam safety and maintenance factsheet for council staff (pdf): to assist council employees to guide landholders where they can find support with dam maintenance, safety, and approvals.
- Private dam maintenance and management in emergencies fact sheet (pdf): provides a short overview of the issues, what to do and what not to do.
- Private dam maintenance and management in emergencies (pdf): a comprehensive guideline to dam maintenance and management during emergencies.
- A rapid risk assessment template (pdf): to assist owners to assess the risk of dam failure.
- An emergency action plan flowchart (pdf): to assist dam owners determine the appropriate action to take in an emergency.
Making changes to your dam
If you need to repair or change your dam, make sure you get the right approvals:
- Get a water affecting activity permit, including for dam water affecting activities.
- Apply to clear native vegetation to repair/maintain an existing dam, or to create a new dam or expand an existing one on pastoral land if vegetation is impacted.
- Find out more about your development requirements and the right council to contact about your development approval using the PlanSA tool.