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D. C. Green
The disaggregation of public water supply bodies in recent years has seen the functions of ownership, design and operation transferred to separate bodies. Consequently , issues of risk management associated with legal liability which previously could be ignored because all risks were absorbed in -house must now be faced and addressed in a more formal way.
This paper looks firstly at the general principles of legal liability for dam performance associated with construction and design, ownership of an existing dam and monitoring of its performance. Liability under several different areas of the law is discussed. Special issues associated with “design and construct” contracts are then highlighted, and warnings are given for project sponsors who control the letting of contracts and the briefing of consultants.Learn more
Contracts are usually thought of as documents which set out the respective legal obligations of the contracting parties. If the focus is changed, however, away from closing legal loopholes to the use of contracts to achieving project management objectives, then, among other things, contracts may be drafted as an integral part of the risk management plan for particular infrastructure assets.
In this paper, where the emphasis is on dam projects, the principles of risk management are applied to contracts for construction, maintenance and surveillance and outsourced technical advice, thereby covering issues over the whole life cycle of the asset. The principles are then broader issues of project procurement. Such as selection of contractor, contract packaging, ,clauses within the contract and administration of the contract.Learn more
For many years, engineers associated with the design, construction and operation of large dams have been undertaking environmental effects studies in association with their projects in the belief that they were thereby satisfying their obligation to the community whose interests they served. With increasing environmental consciousness of the community in developed countries, methods have been developed one by one for assessing environmental impacts of various kinds, and techniques have been developed for abating them.
However, the issue in November of the report of the World Commission on Dams (WCD) has focussed attention not only on the importance of bigger issues such as regional ecology, national economic disbenefits and social dislocation, but also on the vulnerability of dams to social and political hindsight.
This paper develops the above background, and shows why some excellently conceived techniques developed in the early 1970’s were capable of identifying almost all imaginable environmental impacts of dam projects, but were not applied in such a way as to deal adequately with the larger issues. It is argued that tools for dealing with all known issues now exist, but that responsible and competent application of the tools are not equivalent to successful application of them. d A new approach is suggested both to upgrade the quality of the decision and to make successful adoption of a soundly based decision more likely to withstand long term critical appraisal, by expressly recognising these decisions as ethical ones.Learn more