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Dam Integrity Advisory Committee

Dam Integrity is a significant social, environmental and operational responsibility of resource sector companies. In the wake of two high-profile dam failures in Western Canada - after decades of no incidents - ACR proactively brought together industry experts - collectively with more than 200 years of dam integrity engineering experience - to do a high-level review of Alberta's dam safety system. ACR Dam Integrity Briefing Note.

A standing committee, DIAC was formed with the objectives of facilitating the exchange of dam integrity information and best practices, as well as considering emerging issues related to the responsible operation of resource sector dams in Alberta. DIAC Terms of Reference.

Co-chaired by: Paul Cavanagh, P.Eng., Imperial and Dr. Richard Dawson, P.Eng., Norwest Corporation

2017 Committee Update

International Short Course
The UofA will present a five-day International short course on dam integrity in Edmonton, Alberta on May 11-16, 2017

State of Engineering Practice
DIAC experts have identified and indexed approximately 90 guidelines, technical bulletins, papers and other references relevant to the state of engineering practice for dam integrity. The list is meant to provide an overview of the state of practice (rather than state of the art), and is mainly drawn from the publications of the dominant organizations that provide guidance on dam design and dam safety. It is organized according to key topics, for ease of reference by practitioners.

The list is thorough but not necessarily exhaustive. Suggestions for additions are welcome, provided the focus is on practice 'guidelines' as opposed to theoretical papers. Please submit your suggestions to

2016 Committee Update

Met five times to:

  • Share generic lessons learned information which has general applicability to dam integrity.
  • Identify a new technology relevant to dam integrity and explore the feasibility of shared-cost field trials to demonstrate the utility.
  • Facilitate discussion with Alberta and other regulators to explore issues or trends of mutual interest:
    • Define Engineer of Record and other key roles.
    • Develop and share best practices.
    • Communicate clearly about risk.
    • Support regulators to develop guidelines (e.g. new dam safety regulations in Alberta)
  • The UofA presented a one-day condensed short course on dam integrity at the Canadian Dam Association Conference held in Halifax, Nova Scotia in October 2016.

2015 Committee Update

In November 2015, DIAC held a two-day workshop, attended by 26 technical experts from companies, regulators and the University of Alberta. The first day was spent on case studies, including the experiences of regulators; the second day used breakout groups to explore technical topics and identify follow-up actions which can be undertaken by DIAC. Dam Integrity Workshop Summary- November, 2015.

In December 2015, the University of Alberta (UofA) delivered a stellar five-day short course on dam integrity related to mining operations, aimed at building up the knowledge base of mid-career dam engineers. The lecture hall was filled to capacity with 75 mid-career engineers, eager to learn from an international cast of dam engineering superstars.



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