NZSOLD was formed in the 1970’s as a Technical Interest Group of Engineering New Zealand – previously IPENZ. Formation of the Society was initially championed by the Power Division of the Ministry of Works and New Zealand Electricity Department that had the joint responsibility for the planning, building and operation of the large Hydro Electric Dams to satisfy the nations power needs.
NZSOLD is the New Zealand member of The International Commission on Large Dams (ICOLD) a non-governmental International Organization which provides a forum for the exchange of knowledge and experience in dam engineering. The value of affiliation with an international organisation was recognised by the dam industry providing access to a wide pool of knowledge and industry leaders as well as providing a forum for New Zealand to pass on expertise such as in the field of seismic design.
With the hydro-dam portfolio largely established, the interest of NZSOLD broadened and diversified including into; smaller dams, water supply dams, flood detention structures, and irrigation reservoirs. In parrellel, the membership of the society has grown and widened to reflect; changes in dam ownership, the need for greater technical support and work undertaken with governmental authorities in preparing appropriate regulatory instruments for dams. The society has developed industry guidelines benchmarked against international best practice. The 3rd and latest version was released in 2015.