Near Dams & Hydro Systems
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 renewable electricity. One hydro system may contain several generators and many dams to create electricity.
HYDRO SAFETY TIPS
- Avoid upstream and downstream areas of dams and hydro systems.
- Exercise caution when fishing, boating, and swimming and stay away from dams.
- During the winter and spring 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.
- 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.
Tubing on the Gaspereau River
Our dams and other infrastructure – most of which dates back to the 1920s to 1940s – along the Black River system actually create the water levels that allow tubing downstream on the Gaspereau.
How much water we can flow down the Black River system, which feeds Gaspereau River, is regulated by our environmental permits. Those rules are in place to protect fish and fish habitats. Under our environmental permits, we have to run the system 24 hours a day from April 15 to June 15 to enable fish migration – because the river has populations of smelt, gaspereau, salmon, and bass. We want to keep them healthy. But running strong river flows 24/7 drains a lot of water from the system.
At the same time, our permits also require us to maintain a certain water level on Black River Lake between Victoria Day and Labour Day – so mid-May to early-September. That’s to maintain high enough water levels for cottages along the lake, as well as for the end of the bass nesting season.
Each summer, we reach a point where those two environmental requirements intersect – we’ve drained a lot of water maintaining flows for fish migration, and so we have to reduce the flows for a few weeks to keep the water levels up in Black River Lake for the cottages and bass.