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Saskatchewan dams in need of upgrades

REGINA, Saskatchewan, Canada, 10/13/11 (PennWell) – A review of dams in Saskatchewan will be used to develop a 10-year infrastructure renewal plan for the province’s water-management structures.

“A secure and sustainable water supply is essential to support Saskatchewan’s continued economic growth,” said Dustin Duncan, minister of the Saskatchewan Watershed Authority. “Creating a 10-year infrastructure renewal plan will not only ensure that we have reliable water supplies and effective flood protection long into the future, it will give Saskatchewan a more effective planning process for rehabilitation of our dams and water-management structures.”

Duncan also asked the Watershed Authority to inspect all dams affected by high water levels and high water flows in 2011. These special inspections were designed to identify any immediate actions needed as a result of unprecedented runoff and rainfall.

Although the review noted minor damage related to 2011 flooding at several dams, the overall conclusion was that Saskatchewan’s water-management infrastructure performed extremely well under challenging circumstances in 2011. The government is providing the Watershed Authority C$1.9 million this year for urgent repairs that were identified.

Overall, the review found that no substantive reduction in the safety of the Watershed Authority’s dams occurred as a direct result of the flooding in 2011. However, as suggested by the initiation of a 10-year infrastructure renewal program, the review does suggest that upgrades are required over the long term to ensure water-management infrastructure remains safe and effective for decades into the future.

The review also included a request to examine operations at Saskatchewan’s major dams (Gardiner, Rafferty, Alameda and Boundary).

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