Defining dams for declaration purposes

Dams Safety NSW may ‘declare’ a dam if its failure would threaten life, or cause major damage to property, the environment, or public welfare.

This is in accordance with section 4 of the 2019 regulation:

  • a dam having a dam wall that is more than 15 metres high
  • an existing or proposed dam that Dams Safety NSW is reasonably satisfied would endanger the life of a person, or result in a major or catastrophic level of severity of damage or loss were there to be a failure of the dam
  • dams that were ‘prescribed’ under the old Dams Safety Act (1978) became declared dams upon commencement of the new Act.

A dam owner must comply with the dams safety legislation once a dam is declared by Dams Safety NSW.

More info

For further details and for a list of structures that Dams Safety NSW considers not to be a dam, refer to defining dams for declaration purposes.