Aging infrastructure, watershed development, and the emergence of a risk-informed society has led to the need to re-examine dam safety through a societal lens. The incorporation of risk tolerance criteria and systems thinking into dam safety management necessitates a knowledgeable regulator. Lack of qualified personnel, discouragement from participating in learning opportunities, and overreliance on legislation and individual dam owners leaves British Columbia’s water dam regulator falling short of achieving regulatory excellence in many areas. Regulatory frameworks in other jurisdictions are examined to identify best practices for water dam safety regulation. Policy options that aim to improve the regulator’s capacity to understand the risks associated with dams and effectively manage them are evaluated.
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