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Dr Kaley Crawford-Flett

Dr Kaley Crawford-Flett
University of Canterbury


Dr Kaley Crawford-Flett currently leads the University of Canterbury Quake Centre earth dam research project. She has spent the past twelve years working on industry-focused earth dam research and deficiency management, both locally and internationally. Kaley was the recipient of the 2019 EQC/NZSEE Ivan Skinner Award.

Following her BE (Hons) degree and early-career consulting in New Zealand, Kaley undertook her PhD at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, Canada. Kaley’s PhD (geotechnical engineering) was completed with support from BCHydro and the IPENZ Hume Fellowship, focusing on internal instability mechanisms in earth dam materials. She subsequently undertook a period of contract work to address internal erosion concerns in Canadian dams.

In the New Zealand context, Kaley has worked as a consulting engineer in various capacities and has gained local experience on storage and hydropower dam projects (both large and small): from monitoring and surveillance, to Annual and Comprehensive Dam Safety Reviews, deficiency investigations, and specialist geotechnical studies.

Kaley now coordinates the University of Canterbury Quake Centre earth dam research programme. With the support of Genesis Energy, Meridian Energy, Mercury Energy, and Trustpower, the programme aims to improve our understanding and management of the whole-life performance of New Zealand earth dams. Current geotechnical research streams focus on the mechanisms of internal erosion in New Zealand dam materials. At present, experimental programs are being developed to address specific mechanisms of suffusion/suffosion, filter compatibility, and hydraulic fracture.

By bringing an academic platform to industry research needs, Kaley’s Quake Centre research programme aims to advance engineering state-of-practice and develop sustainable dam engineering expertise both in New Zealand and internationally.