The strategy of SANCOLD is to be inclusive and widely embracing of stakeholders in the dam industry. Dam owners, operators, institutions, professional companies and individuals (professionals and private dam owners), all with an active interest in dams, are invited to become members. Further details are provided on the membership page. The South African National Committee on Large Dams (SANCOLD) has revised its Constitution.

ICOLD promotes the sustainable development of dams through technical excellence. However, more emphasis is now being placed on social and environmental issues. While the Department of Water Affairs (DWA) has incorporated a wide range of disciplines into the planning of dams over a number of years these have been emphasised in the November 2000 World Commission on Dams (WCD) report

Clearly the development process has changed in that it is not only engineers that are involved. Many other disciplines such as natural scientists, environmentalists and social scientists now play important roles. Projects have become more complicated and take much longer from inception to implementation.

SANCOLD is a vehicle bringing the various groups, involved in all projects concerning dams and water resources, closer together. SANCOLD represents South Africa on ICOLD and endeavours to give guidance on achieving sustainable development to the dam owner and the individual, whether they are engineers, scientists, environmentalists or social scientists involved in the many facets of dams.

The organisation recognises that fewer new dams will be constructed in South Africa and that the emphasis will shift to operations, maintenance and rehabilitation of existing infrastructure.

SANCOLD supports and promotes development through the use of Best Practice in dam development both in South Africa and in Southern African Development Community (SADC) and African states in support of the New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD) initiative. SADC countries will be invited to have observer status on SANCOLD and to its events.


SANCOLD carries out the following activities:

  • Promote the use of Best Practice;
  • Advance the technology of dam engineering, construction, operation, maintenance and safety;
  • Examine contemporary dam issues such as environmental impacts, social aspects and dam safety;
  • Contribute to ICOLD publication through participation on ICOLD committees;
  • Arrange local seminars, site visits and courses and participate in international seminars on dams;
  • Fund scholarships for postgraduate study in dam related subjects;
  • Collect and disseminate information on dams;
  • Provide technology transfer to practising professionals;
  • Provide advice and promote support for the use of Best Practice in dam development throughout SADC and other African states both directly and via the African Regional Club(ARC) of ICOLD
  • Promote public awareness of the role of dams in the beneficial and substantial development of South Africa’s water resources.
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Dam Safety in the Mining Environment

The need was identified for a training workshop on “Dam Safety in the Mining Environment” hosted by SANCOLD in collaboration with Exxaro from 25 to 26 October 2018. Although the workshop will focus on the mining environment, all stakeholders involved with “dirty water” dams will benefit from this training workshop.

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Dam Surveillance 5 to 6 November 2018           

A training workshop on “Dam surveillance including the art of measurements, proper interpretation and the importance of inspections” will be hosted by SANCOLD from 5 and 6 November 2018.

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SANCOLD Annual Event 2018

The Annual South African National Committee on Large Dams (SANCOLD) 2018 Conference will be held at the NH Cape Town Lord Charles Hotel in Somerset West in the Western Cape from Wednesday 7 to Friday 9 November 2018.

SANCOLD invites all from South Africa, Africa and the wider family of ICOLD to participate in the Conference which will include technical presentations, technical tours and an exhibition. This event will offer all those contributing to the dam engineering industry including dam and water resources engineers important international, regional and local linkages, networking and the exchange of knowledge and experience opportunities.

SANCOLD 2018 will be an ECSA Continuing Professional Development (CPD) accredited event and attendance for all three days will receive 3.0 credits (1 credit/day).

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