Gateway Gazette

Key Bassano Dam Upgrade Completed

The recent completion of a new emergency spillway for Bassano Dam will improve public safety by ensuring the dam can better withstand extreme flows.

Bassano Dam Emergency Spillway

Bassano Dam’s new emergency spillway (foreground) improves the dam’s ability to handle extreme flows.

The new emergency spillway, completed this spring, will increase the dam’s ability to spill excess floodwater to protect the structure from erosion or washouts. Although the dam did not incur significant damage during the 2013 floods, the limits of the previous spillway were tested.

“The 2013 floods were a grim reminder of the power of nature and the need to make our infrastructure and communities more resilient. With this critical upgrade now in place, Albertans living and working in the Bassano area can be confident that Bassano Dam will continue to safely and reliably serve the local community and economy for decades to come.”Jason Nixon, Minister of Environment and Parks

“With the existing spillway and the new emergency spillway, the Bassano Dam will be able to handle a flood 1.7 times larger than the flood of record in 2013, before having to use the fuse plug. This will allow continued supply of water to 310,000 irrigation acres, the City of Brooks, all other municipalities and all businesses within the Eastern Irrigation District, immediately after any future floods.”Earl Wilson, special projects manager, Eastern Irrigation District

Provincial funding for a new emergency spillway was announced in 2014. The project was cost-shared with the Eastern Irrigation District, the dam’s owner, with the province covering $30 million of the $45.4-million upgrade.

Bassano Dam’s new emergency spillway is 119 metres wide and features 10 radial gates, each measuring 10.5 metres wide by 4.1 metres tall. At maximum water levels, the combined capacity of the new and existing spillways is 7,300 cubic metres per second.

Since 1914, the Bassano Dam has helped ensure a reliable supply of water is available to meet agricultural, industrial and household needs throughout the region.

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