Changes coming for BOP dam owners

The policy change will only impact dam owners who have a ‘classifiable dam’. Pictured is the Matahina Dam in the Eastern Bay of Plenty.

Dam owners in the Bay of Plenty are being reminded to prepare for new regulations.

Toi Moana Bay of Plenty Regional Council is updating its existing policy on dangerous, earthquake-prone and flood-prone dams, to align with new Building (Dam safety) Regulations set by central government.

On May 13, the Building (Dam Safety) Regulations 2022 commenced, bringing with it new regulations to increase the resilience and safety of Aotearoa New Zealand’s dams that may have serious impacts on people, property and the environment.

The Building (Dam Safety) Regulations 2022 require all regional councils to adopt a policy for dangerous, earthquake-prone and flood-prone dams, so the regulations can be implemented at a regional level.

Strategy and science general manager Namouta Poutasi says the policy change will only impact dam owners who have a ‘classifiable dam’ – this is a dam that is 4m or more in height and stores 20,000m3 or more in volume of water or other fluid.

“Under this policy, these dam owners must determine their dam’s potential impact classification  and put in place plans to maintain and manage the quality of their dam for the safety of lives and livelihoods of those living downstream, as well as the environmental and cultural wellbeing of the area.”

The new regulations (which will take effect through the policy update) will require owners of classifiable dams to determine the potential impact if their dam failed (called a Potential Impact Classification, or PIC), have this verified by a recognised engineer and submit the PIC to Regional Council.

If a dam is deemed medium or high potential impact, safety plans and regular maintenance schedules will need to be completed by the owner in order to be compliant.

The draft policy changes is open for a period of public feedback,and is expected to close on Monday, July 29.

You can make a submission online via, via email to or by posting your submission to Bay of Plenty Regional Council, PO Box 364, Whakatāne 3158, New Zealand.

For full details, including the draft policy, visit

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