Near Dams and Hydro Systems

» More in this section

Near Dams and Hydro Systems

Nova Scotia is a beautiful province abundant with lakes and rivers. Our water systems have provided clean and renewable energy to Nova Scotians for nearly a century, and provide a recreational area for outdoor enthusiasts.

Be Water Smart. Stay Safe.

We operate 17 hydroelectric systems, 53 generators and approximately 155 dams on lakes and rivers around Nova Scotia to generate electricity. One hydro system may contain several generators and many dams to create electricity.

Dams are used to hold and then release large amounts of water. When the water is released, it enters through a pipe into the hydro station. The power of the water turns the turbine and generator. This movement is what generates electricity.

The dam can open and release water at any time, any day of the year. Suddenly, calm water can turn into rapids with a powerful undertow. The water’s edge is not safe either.

Water levels can rise very quickly and easily sweep you into the river.

Remember that hydro systems are not for recreational use at any time of year. Exercise caution when fishing, boating, and swimming and stay away from dams. During the winter months, beware of thin ice. The moving water around dams makes it very difficult for ice to form properly. Activities like snowmobiling, cross-country skiing and ice fishing can be very dangerous in these areas.

Safety Tips:

  • As spring approaches, beware of thinning ice. Ice that forms near a hydro dam or station can be thinner and more inconsistent than in other locations because of the changing water flows beneath it.
  • Avoid upstream and downstream areas of dams and hydro systems.
  • Plan your trip ahead of time and identify any water hazards including dams. When your trail takes you across a waterway make sure you have a way back out in case of rising water levels.
  • Respect warning signs, boom, buoys and barriers. They are there for your protection.
  • Beware that calm water can suddenly turn into rapids with a powerful undertow. This can be especially dangerous in the Spring due to high inflows from spring rains and snowmelt.