Queensland passes dams safety law

The protection of residents located in and around water storage dams in Queensland, Australia, will be further strengthened by the Water Legislation (Dam Safety) Amendment Bill 2016 voted in to law by parliament on May 9, according to a press release from the government of Queensland.

Minister for Water Supply, Mark Bailey, said the new dam safety legislation will further safeguard Queenslanders against safety risks associated with dams.

The announcement follows a recent dam safety announcement made by government officials.

Earlier this month, Queensland Premier, Annastacia Palaszczuk, announced the state is investigating whether to develop a 50-MW hydropower project at Queensland non-powered Burkedin Falls Dam, estimated to cost about $200 million.

Palaszczuk said the project is part of a broader $550 million dam safety upgrade that is required by 2035 for Burdekin Falls Dam.

Bailey said, “These important safety measures implement recommendations from the 2015 Inspector-General of Emergency Management’s review of Seqwater and SunWater warning communications, which highlighted the need for changes to dam safety emergency management procedures.”

Seqwater was formed in January 2013 through a merger of three state-owned water businesses, the SEQ Water Grid Manager, LinkWater and the former Seqwater. The organization said it is also responsible for the long-term planning of the region’s future water needs, a function that was formerly undertaken by the Queensland Water Commission.

SunWater, the trading name of SunWater Ltd., is a statutory Queensland government-owned corporation that has developed and now manages a regional network of bulk water supply infrastructure that spans across Queensland.

Last month, HydroWorld.com reported Seqwater announced a long-term capital upgrade program that will assess a number of its dams for safety upgrades and improvements.

Bailey said he has tasked Queensland’s Chief Scientist Professor, Suzanne Miller, to undertake an independent assessment into the operation of Kinchant Dam and warning systems for communities downstream – to make sure that everything that could be done, was done.

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Gregory B. Poindexter formerly was an associate editor for HydroWorld.com.

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