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iPresas ends the development of a Dam Risk Analysis and Management Guideline for India - 04/06/2018

Adrián Morales: “The guideline provides the required information to define the priorities for investing on dam safety”
Adrián Morales, Partner and CTO of iPresas, has been working last months in the development of a guideline for risk analysis and management of dams in India. The objective of this guideline, coordinated by  Ignacio Escuder Bueno, founding partner of iPresas and president of SPANCOLD, is to support decision making to improve safety of these infrastructures.
The work is part of the DRIP project (Dam Rehabilitation and Improvement Project) - managed by the Central Water Commission of India, which is coordinated by the French company EGIS and with the financial assistance of the World Bank-, to rehabilitate 225 dams in the country.
Specifically, the guideline is based on the principles of risk analysis applied to dam safety management, and it is a cross-sectional work directly related with other 16 guidelines which have been developed under the DRIP project.
-       What is the importance of this study in the India´s dam system?
Dam safety is one of the priorities for the Indian government in last years, as they are facing high development rates so they need water for different uses such as urban supply, agricultural or hydropower production.
The development of these infrastructures also implies investing in their safety, so that a new dam safety law is currently under debate. In this sense, risk analysis techniques may play a key role in making decisions for future investments.
-       What is the work developed in the guidelines?
These guidelines have been designed to inform dam safety management, to guarantee sustainability and operational capacity through early identification and rectification of safety problems.
Therefore the guide provides the required information to establish which are key risk drivers and which are the necessary investments and how should be prioritized based on available resources, from a structural (build a new outlet workor conduct rehabilitation actions) or non-structural point of view (development and implementation of dam emergency action plans for protecting downtream population or improvements in operating rules).
-       Tell us about three important factors of the guideline made by iPresas
First, it is not only a risk calculation and methodology guideline, but as I said previously, it is a reference framework to support decisionmaking on dam safety management.
Second, it is a compendium of different existing techniques, since it is a document of more than 150 pages including more than 100 references.
Finally, it represents a reference document that shows different levels of action based on information available, so that is very flexible to adapt in different cases.
-       Why is a periodic review and update necessary?
These guidelines are a first step for a risk-informed dam safety management, but these methodologies only have been applied in some pilot cases in India, so its implementation in a greater number of dams will provide the opportunity to adapt them to the reality of India.
In other words, the guidelines define the methodological and basic principles for the application of risk analysis in dam safety, but they must be complemented with the development of policies and regulatory frameworks that determine the necessary principles for infrastructure governance and enable qualified technicians to carry out these tasks.
Therefore, it represents a key tool to design a whole dam safety management program.
-       May the guidelines be extrapolated to every dam in India?
Although the DRIP project is developing rehabilitation actions in 225 dams, the objective is that the guidelines become a reference for the rest of the dam portfolio in India.  
In this sense, we must not forget that India is the third country in the world in number of large dams, only behind the USA and China.
-       When will the guidelines be applied?
The developed guide will be approved and published online by the end of 2018. Since then, it will be possible to start its application to the portfolio of dams in India.
The DRIP 2 project will begin in 2020 and is focused on new dam rehabilitation and safety actions, it represents a great opportunity to implement the main aspects of risk analysis as proposed within the guidelines in order to prioritize investments.  




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