Get ready for new dam safety regulations

If you own a property with a dam or a similar structure that retains water or some other fluid (such as dairy effluent), you should start thinking about the new dam safety regulations that come into force on 13 May 2024.

The new regulations are being introduced by the Ministry for Business, Employment and Innovation (MBIE). They're designed to provide a nationally consistent approach to dam safety, ensuring dams and similar structures are well-operated, maintained and monitored.

They’re designed to reduce the impact on people, property, or the environment from incidents that could cause these kinds of structures to fail.

Check if your dam or structure falls under the new regulations

If you have a dam or similar structure on your property, you should look at MBIE’s Building Performance website as soon as possible to determine if it falls under the new regulations.

Whether it’s classifiable under the new regulations depends on its height and the volume of water/fluid it can store above natural ground level.

The new regulations apply to dams that are:

  • 4 or more metres and store 20,000 or more cubic metres volume of water, or other fluid; or
  • 1 or more metres and store 40,000 or more cubic metres volume of water, or other fluid.

Arranging a Potential Impact Classification (PIC)

If it does, then you’ll need to carry out a PIC. You can do this yourself or get a technical practitioner to do it for you.

Either way, a registered engineer will need to audit and certify the PIC, which will then need to be registered on our dam safety register within 3 months of the regulations coming into effect. The dam safety register will be live on our website from mid-May.

The PIC will give a rating of low, medium or high impact.

Depending on the rating, you may then need to submit a Dam Safety Assurance Programme (DSAP). Based on the PIC rating, you will have either 12 months or two years to do this.

Guides and timeframes

MBIE’s Building Performance website includes a guide for calculating the volume of a dam/structure to see if it is impacted by the regulations.

We also recommend paying particular attention to the implementation timeframes.

If you have any questions or concerns, please email us at damsafety@ecan.govt.nz.