Recording and presentations


Dr Lianne Lefsrud
PhD, Strategic Management and Organization, Alberta School of Business
PEng, Association of Professional Engineers and Geoscientists of Alberta
MSc, Interdisciplinary Civil & Environmental Engineering and Sociology, BSc, Civil Engineering, Cooperative Program, 1994, University of Alberta.

Topic: Dams as a System

Lianne is an Associate Professor at the School of Engineering Safety and Risk Management, University of Alberta.  She brings a wealth of experience in systems, process safety, human and organisational factors, and risk management, from her work in the rail transport and mining sectors (including tailings dams).

Lianne collaborates to address industry issues and contribute to theories of risk management, quantitative and qualitative methods, and understudied empirical contexts.  She has received several international, national, provincial, and university awards for her research, including best paper 2019 from the Canadian Dam Association.  Professionally, her career spans two decades with senior roles in industry, consulting, and regulation.  For more see:

Dan Forster, Rebecca Polvere and Peter Fox
Dam safety engineers
Dam Safety Intelligence (a consulting subsidiary of Meridian Energy).

Topic: Understanding the Dam System

Dan, Rebecca and Peter have wide dam safety management experience from time spent as both dam owners and technical practitioners, from Sweden and North America in the north, to Australia and NZ in the south.  They have spent recent years working on a technological advancement project to evaluate and benchmark owners’ dam safety programs and management systems.  An important component of this work is to develop the state of industry practice around defining and understanding dam systems.  This was in response to a challenge and opportunity that emerged from the Oroville Spillway forensic team’s lessons to be learned.

Dan has 20 years experience and is the Chair of NZSOLD, NZ’s representative on ICOLD’s Dam Safety Committee H, and provides dam safety audit and advisory to several international dam owners.  Rebecca has 18 years experience, including 5 years as a Senior Dam Safety Engineer at BC Hydro, one of the world’s leading dam owners.  Peter is an active member of NZSOLD Young Professionals Group and has 4 years experience in dam surveillance, dam safety reviews and training.  

Hanna Aung
Dam Safety Analyst
Watercare Services Ltd

Topic: Public safety around dams

Hanna is a Dam Safety Analyst at Watercare Services Ltd, with a background in Earth Sciences and Statistics. In her three years in the industry, she gained experience from both the consultancy and dam owner perspectives. Activities ranging from surveillance and monitoring of natural hazards and dams throughout New Zealand and overseas, to asset management, public safety, plus involvement in operational procedures, contribute to a broad platform of knowledge and interests.

Steve Conlan
Plant Automation Engineer
Meridian Energy

Topic: Dam Safety Critical Systems: What is acceptable reliability?

Steven Conlan is an automation engineer for Meridian Energy and has 10 years’ experience working on hydro assets. Steve’s work includes the conversion of intake gate protection from an ‘energise-to-trip’ to a ‘de-energise-to-trip’ (failsafe) philosophy. Steve is currently involved with upgrading the Benmore hydraulic structures control system which includes DSC protection functions such as overtopping protection. Steve brings a different perspective to the way DSC protection functions are automated that shifts away from “rules of thumb” toward a standards based approach. 

Zoran Micovic, PhD, P.Eng.
Principal Engineer
BC Hydro

Topic: Implications of climate change for dams

Dr Zoran Micovic is BC Hydro’s Principal Engineer with over 25 years of international experience in water resources/hydrology/hydraulics, including industry, teaching and research. Externally from BC Hydro, Zoran provides advice and technical review on various projects involving engineering design, dam safety decision making and risk assessments. He currently serves on several review/advisory boards for major dam owners including US Army Corps of Engineers, FERC/Southern California Edison, Hydro-Québec, Santa Clara Valley Water District, New Brunswick Power, TransAlta, and The Government of British Columbia.

Zoran is Canadian representative on two ICOLD technical committees: Hydraulics for Dams, and Flood Evaluation for Dam Safety committee, where he co-authored a technical bulletin entitled “Flood Evaluation, Hazard Determination and Risk Management”.

Peter Mulvihill
FEngNZ, CPEng, IntPE (NZ)
Independent Consultant

Topic: Lessons learned from recent court cases (NZ, Cork, Brisbane)

Peter has over 30 years’ experience working in the energy industry including technical and management roles involving hydropower and dams.  He currently works as a private consultant to the energy and dam industry. He has a civil engineering degree from Canterbury University and a Master of Engineering Science from the University of New South Wales. He is a Fellow of Engineering New Zealand, Past Chairman of the NZ Society on Large Dams, Past Vice President of the International Commission on Large Dams (ICOLD) and currently the Chair of the ICOLD Public Awareness and Education Committee.

Dr Kaley Crawford-Flett B.E. (Hons), Ph.D.
Senior Industry Research Fellow
Civil and Natural Resources Engineering, University of Canterbury
Dam Resilience Research Programme, University of Auckland

Topic: Dams and levees as part of integrated catchment management systems

Dr Kaley Crawford-Flett is a geotechnical engineering researcher with a strong background in dam engineering practice. She works with a team of industry partners and university faculty to lead collaborative embankment engineering research across the University of Canterbury and University of Auckland.  Kaley’s primary research interests focus on reducing uncertainties concerning mechanisms and modes of seepage-induced erosion and geotechnical degradation. More broadly, her research considers methods to assess seismic and co-seismic hazard exposure, in the context of whole-life dam and stopbank resilience.


Head of Technology Expertise Group and Deputy Technical Director –  Hydro Engineering Center (CIH)
Electricité de France (EDF)

Dr Denis’ current activity covers the technical supervision of EDF-CIH engineering activities in the following aspects: hydropower assets development and maintenance, incl. PSH, dam safety, hydraulic structures design, flood risk management & flood control, reservoir sedimentation and environmental management of Hydro assets, marine renewable energy development. He also manages R&D and technology innovation programs of EDF Hydro Engineering Center (CIH).

Denis is a member of the executive board of the French national committee on large dams (CFBR), and acts as Chairman of Technical Committee Y on “Global Climate Change, Dams and Reservoirs” of the International Commission on Large Dams (ICOLD).

Denis is the author or co-author of numerous technical and scientific published communications in peer-reviewed journals and conferences in his fields of expertise.

Mark Townsend
Engineering Manager
Bay of Plenty Regional Council Toi Moana

Mark is the Engineering Manager at the Bay of Plenty Regional Council. His team, among other things, is involved in reviewing consent applications from developers, infrastructure providers and industries that contain embankments.

Mark is also a member of the New Zealand River Managers Improvement Plan Champions Group where he leads the “Practices, Methodologies and Standards”work stream. Stopbanking and detention dam guidelines are topics that are being progressed.