Queensland dam owners and operator’s forum

The Queensland dam safety regulator recently facilitated the annual Queensland dam owners and operator’s forum, affectionately labelled “QDOOF” by one of this year’s presenters.

The forum, now in its 4th year, brings together dam owners and operators from across Queensland to hear from industry leaders on current events and trends. The past three forums have benefitted from on-line technology and have featured a series of 5 or 6 streamed, one-hour presentations, delivered weekly.

This year’s forum kicked off with the usual regulator update, focusing on updated requirements for dam owner’s annual wet season self-reporting. A key inclusion this year is dam upgrade project reports, where dam owners justify dam upgrade project timeframes and track their performance.

Rory Nathan followed by providing an update of research into the impacts of climate change on extreme flood risk. This update is expected to be offered to the broader ANCOLD cohort in the near future.

Forum participants then received a progress update on the Australian Warning System (AWS) from Jennifer Kerr from the Queensland Fire and Emergency Services.

David Stewart then provided a first glimpse of the review of the ANCOLD dam safety management guideline. While the review is still in its early days, the session provided insights into proposed amendments to this important guideline.

Rob Ayre and John Ruffini provided a 2011 flood engineer retrospective. Rob and John described their experiences managing Somerset and Wivenhoe dams during the 2011 event and the ensuing legal battles that followed for more than a decade, ending in April of this year. This was a compelling and informative story that is a decade overdue in its telling.​

To round off another successful forum for the year Chris Nielsen briefly described perspectives of the February 2022 Queensland flood event from the dam safety regulator, considering emergency action plan activations, emergency event reporting and management of the many calls received regarding small irrigation dams during the event.

This year’s forum was again highly successful and was a great opportunity to connect with the Queensland dam owner community.