Water management and regulation of safety of dams is under the jurisdiction of the provincial governments in Canada. Until the late 1970s, none of the provinces had specific legislation that directly addressed safety of dams; however, Alberta took the lead with a proactive dam safety regulation approach in response to concerns due to failure of a number of dams around the world.
On September 19, 1978, the Government of Alberta enacted specific dam and canal safety regulation establishing the first formal dam safety regulatory program in Canada to ensure safety of the public and the environment. Since its inception, the program continues to evolve, maintaining Alberta's position as a leader in dam safety regulation.
The main purpose of Alberta's Dam Safety Regulatory System is to ensure that dams and their appurtenant hydraulic structures are designed, constructed, maintained, operated and decommissioned using best available technology (BAT) and best applicable practices (BAP).
The BAT and BAP are determined through processes that permit stakeholder and expert inputs to ensure that dam safety performance requirements and monitoring are proactive and rigorous.
Operational and strategic plans
The Dam Safety Regulator Operational Plan and Strategic Plan set out Alberta's regulatory policies and practices.
The following is a summary of key points in the plans. For full details, refer to the documents.
Be a leader in advancing public safety, sustainability and environmental protection by implementing a best in class Dam Safety Regulatory System.
Ensure safety of dams and canals for public safety and to minimize environmental and economic losses through effective and efficient use of the compliance assurance programs and tools.
Objectives and goals
The objectives and goals of dam safety are shown below and reflect the robust compliance assurance programs and tools that are in place to meet the vision and mission of the Dam Safety Regulatory System. More detailed information can be found in the Strategic Plan.
- Emergency Preparedness/Response
- Performance Monitoring
- Deficiency Tracking/Follow-ups
- Compliance Assurance/Reporting
- Risk Management/Mitigation
- Dams – Alberta Energy Regulator
- Dam Safety – Government of British Columbia
- Dam management – Government of Ontario
- Dam Safety Act – Government of Quebec
- Dam Safety Program – Government of Newfoundland and Labrador
- Hydropower – Federal Energy Regulatory Commission
- Dam Safety Program – U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
- Safety of Dams – Bureau of Reclamation
- Dam safety regulation – Victoria State Government (Australia)
- Dams Safety – New South Wales Government (Australia)