Unit of competency details

NWP319A - Monitor and control dam operations (Release 2)


Usage recommendation:
Is superseded by and equivalent to NWPSOU022 - Monitor and control dam operationsUnit code updated. Content and formatting updated to comply with the new standards. All PC transitioned from passive to active voice. PC 1.2 and 1.3 removed. One new PC added to Element 1. 06/Dec/2015

Release Status:
ReleaseRelease date
2 (this release) 30/Apr/2012
(View details for release 1) 10/Jan/2011

Training packages that include this unit


SchemeCodeClassification value
ASCED Module/Unit of Competency Field of Education Identifier 030907 Water And Sanitary Engineering  

Classification history

SchemeCodeClassification valueStart dateEnd date
ASCED Module/Unit of Competency Field of Education Identifier 030907 Water And Sanitary Engineering  25/Sep/2008 
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Modification History

NWP319A Release 2: Layout adjusted. No changes to content.

NWP319A Release 1: Primary release.

Unit Descriptor

This unit of competency describes the outcomes required to prepare for and implement dam operation plans, including inspection and testing of dam safety mechanisms.

Application of the Unit

This unit supports the attainment of skills and knowledge required for field and operational staff with a specific responsibility for the operation of ungated dams.

Licensing/Regulatory Information

Not applicable.


Not applicable.

Employability Skills Information

This unit contains employability skills.

Elements and Performance Criteria Pre-Content

Elements describe the essential outcomes of a unit of competency.

Performance criteria describe the required performance needed to demonstrate achievement of the element. Where bold italicised  text is used, further information is detailed in the range statement. Assessment of performance is to be consistent with the evidence guide.

Elements and Performance Criteria



1 Plan and prepare for dam operation .

1.1 Check and apply guidelines and regulatory requirements for dam operation  to operation plans.

1.2 Apply relevant organisational policies, standard operating procedures and incident management to dam operation plans and preparations .

1.3 Undertake inspections  according to organisational and statutory requirements .

2 Implement dam operation plans .

2.1 Follow dam operation plans according to organisational requirements.

2.2 Inspect and test plant and equipment  according to manufacturer's guidelines and organisational requirements.

2.3 Test and record dam safety mechanisms .

3 Compile and process operation reports .

3.1 Collect operational data  from measurement instruments, inspections and team members.

3.2 Collect, process, validate and record operational data and store it according to organisational requirements.

3.3 Evaluate data and record and report structural, material and/or equipment problems.

3.4 Recommend remedial action.

Required Skills and Knowledge

This describes the essential skills and knowledge and their level, required for this unit.

Required skills :

  • identify operational problems
  • identify access problems
  • identify security problems
  • conduct inspections
  • implement operational activities
  • interpret plans, drawings, instructions, standard operating procedures, policies and standards
  • use equipment and personal protective equipment
  • use rescue equipment
  • use relevant tools and machinery
  • identify safety hazards
  • give and receive instructions
  • communicate with other employees and customers
  • collect and process data
  • communicate
  • inspect and operate relevant equipment and instruments
  • produce reports

Required knowledge :

  • properties of stored water
  • basic dam design principles
  • risks to dams -lessons from dam incidents
  • dam safety emergency operations
  • dam security issues
  • dam access issues
  • dam operation principles
  • basic materials science (corrosion, paint coating)
  • communication systems
  • basic principles of hydraulics
  • system layout
  • environmental aspects of operation and maintenance
  • lock out procedures for mechanical and electrical installations
  • control systems
  • equipment operation
  • relevant utilities and service bodies
  • hazardous materials handling
  • effects of weather and conditions on bulkwater assets
  • safe dam operating procedures
  • principles of dam inspection
  • risk management techniques
  • occupational health and safety
  • personal work site safety
  • organisational and statutory requirements

Evidence Guide

The evidence guide provides advice on assessment and must be read in conjunction with the Performance Criteria, Required Skills and Knowledge, the Range Statement and the Assessment Guidelines for the Training Package.

Critical aspects for assessment and evidence required to demonstrate competency in this unit 

The candidate should demonstrate the ability to prepare for and implement dam operation plans including:

  • operating dams in compliance with standard operating procedures
  • interpreting technical documentation
  • identifying and investigating operational problems
  • collecting and analysing technical information
  • preparing required reports

Context of and specific resources for assessment 

Access to the workplace and resources including:

  • documentation that should normally be available in a water industry organisation
  • relevant codes, standards, and government regulations

Where applicable, physical resources should include equipment modified for people with disabilities.

Access must be provided to appropriate learning and/or assessment support when required.

Assessment processes and techniques must be culturally appropriate, and appropriate to the language and literacy capacity of the candidate and the work being performed.

Validity and sufficiency of evidence requires that:

  • competency will need to be demonstrated over a period of time reflecting the scope of the role and the practical requirements of the workplace
  • where the assessment is part of a structured learning experience the evidence collected must relate to a number of performances assessed at different points in time and separated by further learning and practice
  • a decision of competence should only be made when the assessor has complete confidence in the person's competence over time and in various contexts
  • all assessment that is part of a structured learning experience must include a combination of direct, indirect and supplementary evidence
  • where assessment is for the purpose of recognition (RCC/RPL), the evidence provided will need to be authenticated and show that it represents competency demonstrated over a period of time
  • assessment can be through simulated project-based activity and must include evidence relating to each of the elements in this unit

Questioning will be undertaken in a manner appropriate to the skill levels of the operator, any cultural issues that may affect responses to the questions, and reflecting the requirements of the competency and the work being performed.

Range Statement

The range statement relates to the unit of competency as a whole. It allows for different work environments and situations that may affect performance. Bold italicised  wording, if used in the Performance Criteria, is detailed below. Add any essential operating conditions that may be present with training and assessment depending on the work situation, needs if the candidate, accessibility of the item, and local industry and regional contexts.

Guidelines and regulatory requirements for dam operation  include:

  • Australian National Committee on Large Dams (ANCOLD) guidelines

Dam operation plans and preparations  may include:

  • owner's operations manual
  • dam safety emergency plans

Inspection  procedures may include:

  • owner's inspection manuals
  • operation and maintenance manuals
  • Safety Evaluation of Existing Dams (SEED) guidelines

Organisational and statutory requirements  may include:

  • occupational health and safety, including the use of personal protective equipment
  • environmental laws and policies
  • by-laws
  • organisational policies and standards operating procedures
  • Water Acts
  • construction and occupational health and safety regulations
  • public safety and disaster plans
  • Australian National Committee on Large Dams guidelines
  • state and local government or state committees
  • asset management plan

Plant and equipment  may include:

  • valves
  • pipes
  • conduits
  • electrical & mechanical operating systems
  • hoists and cranes
  • baulks
  • trashracks
  • trunnions

Dam safety mechanisms  may include:

  • monitoring equipment and systems, including telemetry

Operational data  may include:

  • operation and maintenance manuals
  • past inspection reports
  • operation, monitoring and testing records
  • observation and associated comments and reports
  • original design plans
  • design modifications
  • construction records and reports
  • survey information
  • maintenance records
  • performance data

Unit Sector(s)

Not applicable.

Competency field

Dam safety.