Monitoring and Auditing

Dams Safety NSW is responsible for monitoring declared dam owners’ compliance with dams safety legislation.

On completion of the transition period, the agency will exercise a range of proactive, planned compliance activities within the regulated community. These may include:

  • running a risk-based audit program with compliance priorities determined by dam consequence category and other risk factors
  • inspections determined on the basis of risk.

Dams Safety NSW determines compliance with regulatory requirements through audits of declared dam owners’ polices, processes and procedures.

These will be audited according to a schedule based on compliance priorities. Audits can be in the form of desktop or field audits. Reports will be generated after each audit.

Why we audit

The auditing of dams allows Dams Safety NSW to employ a systems-based approach to safety management. This facilitates a much more comprehensive identification of potential risk. Once an audit has taken place Dams Safety NSW clearly communicates whether declared dam owners need to make a change to systems or practices.

Information gained during audits assists in:

  • detecting instances of non-compliance in a timely manner
  •  determining the level of compliance and trends
  •  identifying where action may be needed to avoid or mitigate dam safety risks
  • identifying when and what type of education or enforcement may be needed
  • assessing and reviewing the effectiveness of regulatory projects, education and information programs.

It is through the audits that Dams Safety NSW assures the safety of communities throughout NSW.

Compliance priorities

Compliance priorities will be set by Dams Safety NSW, which will update and publish them at regular intervals.

Consistent with the NSW Government’s Quality Regulatory Services (QRS) initiative, Dams Safety NSW will adopt a risk-based approach to determine who and how often to audit.


Non-compliances are normally found through the audit process or through other information sources.

Dams Safety NSW employs a graduated and proportionate approach to non-compliance, based on severity of the non-compliance (its potential harm to people, the environment or property). The approach to serious non-compliance also takes into account the declared dam owner’s culpability, co-operation and approach to the non-compliance, and the public interest.

Dam owners annual report

The 2015 Act requires an owner of a declared dam to publish a report demonstrating their compliance with safety standards.

Dams Safety NSW will publish a document detailing the full requirements of an annual report in 2020. It is likely that reports will cover:

  • reporting of dam safety incidents
  • dam configuration changes
  • a summary of corrective actions taken
  • a summary of emergency plan exercises carried out.

The owner of a declared dam must report dam safety incidents to Dams Safety NSW in accordance with section 19 of the 2019 regulation.


Download Dam Information Form.

Download Declared Dam Owners Address Form.

Complete online Incident Reporting Form