Melbourne Water Corporation Retarding Basin Upgrade Program

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Melbourne Water currently manages more than 200 retarding basins within the drainage system. These basins are urban holding ponds, which temporarily store stormwater runoff. The design of the basins must comply with Melbourne Water’s Statement of Obligations, which requires having regard for Australian National Committee on Large Dams (ANCOLD) Guidelines.

GHD identified particular retarding basins which, according to ANCOLD Guidelines, have an unacceptable level of risk. Our team designed upgrade works to reduce the risk to ALARP (As Low As Reasonably Practicable), and oversaw their construction to ensure the quality of upgrades conform to current dam industry standards.

Building on our long history of providing consultancy services to Melbourne Water, GHD drew on its wide range of capabilities to deliver the following:

  • Dam Break and Consequence Assessments for more than 50 retarding basins to determine the ANCOLD Consequence Category and for input into risk assessments
  • Risk assessments for over 30 retarding basins in accordance with the ANCOLD Guidelines on Risk Assessment to determine the required upgrade measures and prioritization of the upgrade works
  • Concept designs of upgrade works for 15 basins, and functional and detailed design of upgrade works for 11 basins
  • Construction services for 11 basins (5 currently under construction).



We recognise our clients’ needs for solutions that harness in-depth knowledge with forward thinking to produce innovative, safe and cost-effective outcomes. We have successfully delivered through all methods of project delivery, from the conventional approach to design and construct, alliances and Engineering Procurement and Construction Management (EPCM). 

GHD provides services for the following dam types and appurtenant structures:

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With you, our hydrogeologists work alongside our engineers, environmental consultants, planners, surveyors and GIS consultants to arrive at integrated solutions.

GHD has global hydrogeological experience in groundwater resource assessment, aquifer storage and recovery (ASR), mine dewatering, aquifer depressurisation, groundwater management and environmental assessment, salinity, acid sulfate soils (ASS) and acid and metalliferous drainage (AMD).

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