2019 – Using Maturity Matrices to Evaluate a Dam Safety Programme and Improve Practices

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Dan Forster, Lizzie Smith

Dam owners manage many complex activities to maintain and operate their dams safely and resiliently. Identifying, and continually improving, the key elements of an effective dam safety program and associated practices can be challenging but are essential to support resilient dams and resilient communities; using the Dam Safety Maturity Matrices (DSMM) is an efficient and thorough way to do this. A maturity matrix is a tool to evaluate how well-developed and effective a process or program is. The matrices were developed within CEATI’s Dam Safety Interest Group (DSIG) for owners to assess the effectiveness of their dam safety program against industry practice, and to assist with identifying improvement initiatives.

This paper will present the matrices and demonstrate how they are used to evaluate the effectiveness (or maturity) of a dam safety program. It will also highlight the benefits associated with using the matrices as an assessment tool, including the identification of improvements that can be made to a dam safety program, and the prioritization of efforts across multiple facets of a dam safety program.

User case studies from dam owners in both New Zealand and overseas will be presented to elaborate on the tool and the process.

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