Proposed policy on dangerous dams, earthquake-prone dams and flood-prone dams

The Building Act 2004 requires all regional councils to adopt a policy on dangerous dams, earthquake-prone dams and flood-prone dams in their district.

We are seeking your feedback on a dangerous dams policy, outlined below.

Feedback is welcome until 5 May 2024

This policy sets out what Tasman District Council will do about a dangerous, earthquake-prone or flood-prone dam in the Tasman district. The policy covers our regulatory and legislative responsibilities under the Act about these types of dams.

The policy has three key sections:

1. How we will perform our legislative functions in relation to dangerous, earthquake-prone or flood-prone dams.
The Council has a variety of functions under the Act, and our approach is explained in more detail in the policy. An example of an action we may take is, we may put up fencing or hoarding around the dangerous dam to stop people approaching the dam.
2. Our priorities when performing these functions.
The Council will prioritise safety at all times, following a risk-based approach. We will also protect the health and wellbeing of the environment and have regard to cultural and heritage values, when undertaking our functions.
3. How the policy will apply to heritage dams.
If a dangerous dam is also a heritage dam, we will account for the need to facilitate the preservation of significant heritage values.

Central government has announced that it intends to amend the definition of a classifiable dam in regulation 5 of the Regulations to exclude smaller dams. Read the Beehive’s media release for more details on the announcement:

Cutting all that dam red tape | Beehive.govt.nz

About the proposed policy

We are preparing a new policy that aligns with central government’s dam safety requirements.

Those requirements include the Building Act 2004 and the Building (Dam Safety) Regulations 2022 which come into effect in May 2024. From that date, owners of dams1 that meet the height and reservoir volume requirements will need to confirm the potential risk their dam poses, put in place safety plans and undertake regular dam inspections.

1 For the purposes of the Act and the Regulations, a dam owner is the person who legally owns the physical dam itself.

You should read this policy if you have a dam that is a classifiable dam. A classifiable dam2 is either:

a. 4m or more in height and holding 20,000m3 or more in volume; or

b. 1m or more in height and retaining 40,000m3 or more in volume.

Central government has announced that it intends to amend the definition of a classifiable dam in regulation 5 of the Regulations to exclude smaller dams.

Read the Beehive’s media release for more details on the announcement:

Cutting all that dam red tape | Beehive.govt.nz

Measures by a regional authority to avoid immediate danger also apply to all other dams.

2 A classifiable dam is defined in regulation 5 of the Regulations

The policy does not classify dams or address any obligations placed on owners of classifiable dams by the Building Act 2004 or the Building (Dam Safety) Regulations).

The policy also does not cover consenting matters under the Resource Management Act 1991 or the Building Act 2004.

How to make a submission

Submissions are open until 5 May 2024.

Anyone can make a submission on the proposed policy. This consultation is an opportunity for the Council to consider your views before the decisions are made.

You can make your submission in the form below. You can also email your submission to info@tasman.govt.nz or post your submission to Dangerous Dams Policy 2024, Tasman District Council, 189 Queen Street, Private Bag 4, Richmond 7050.

As part of your submission, please tell us if you would like to attend the public hearing to speak to the Council in support of your submission. If you do not wish to speak, your submission will be provided to the hearings panel for consideration.

Please provide your contact details so that we can notify you of the hearing date and arrange a time for you to speak. This will also enable the Council to inform you of the decisions on the policy following the hearing.

Submissions should relate to the contents of the policy.

The Council is not able to change anything in the Act or Regulations, including any obligations placed on owners of classifiable dams.

Submissions are public documents

All submissions (including your name and contact details) will be provided to Council workers for administration and analysing feedback, and to those who are involved in decision-making on the consultation.

All submissions, including submitter names (unless you request otherwise) but not contact details, will be publicly available online. The body of your submission and any attachments will not be checked for personal information and it should be assumed that anything included in these will be made public.

Note, Council is subject to the Local Government Official Information and Meetings Act 1987 and a request for official information may cover your submission, including your address and other contact details.

Important documents

For more information, please refer to the statement of proposal and draft policy on dangerous dams, earthquake-prone dams and flood-prone dams.

Statement of Proposal

Draft Dangerous Dams Policy

If you have any questions, please contact us at info@tasman.govt.nz with Dangerous Dams Policy in the subject line.