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  3. Guest speaker Stephen Rigbey shares expertise at 2017 NZSOLD workshop



The 2017 New Zealand Society on Large Dams (NZSOLD) workshop, was this year hosted by the University of Canterbury Quake Centre.




Rebecca Knott, current Chair of NZSOLD, was delighted to introduce a very special guest speaker, Stephen Rigbey, from BC Hydro in Canada.


Stephen joined BC Hydro in 2008, and is now their Director of Dam Safety. He is responsible for ensuring safe reservoir retention and passage through and around hydro facilities at 41 sites throughout the province of British Columbia, Canada.


He was recently awarded the prestigious Inge Anderson Award by the Canadian Dam Association in recognition of his “significant contributions to the advancement of knowledge and practices related to dams in Canada.”


During a question and answer session at the workshop Stephen said, “it blew his mind that we live in a world right now where people put complete faith in a theorized number calculated for an annualized rate of (dam) failure due to internal erosion.”


To Stephen, “this just makes no sense whatsoever.” He says, “we’ve got to get back to basics and we have got to continue to do more extensive research and look beyond what we have, and where we are right now.”


Stephen was quick to point out how impressed he is with current dam internal erosion research being undertaken by UC researchers Kayley Crawford-Flett and Jennifer Haskell, including a project that assessed dams in North Canterbury following the Kaikoura earthquakes.


NZ SOLD members and other attendees interested in RIDM, felt very fortunate to have this opportunity to share in Stephens vast experience.


Other experts in their field to also present at the workshop covered the broader aspects of; what is Risk Informed Decision Making and what it means in terms of managing dams and similar assets, along with a range of case studies, such as the Mount Ruapehu eruption and the Matahina Dam.


Quake Centre Director, Robert Finch, was unable to attend but says, “by all accounts the workshop was really well received, with great presentations and those that participated said they got a lot out of it.”


“It was a fantastic opportunity for the Quake Centre to present the important work we’ve done in relation to dam seismic safety enhancement.”












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