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Slave Falls generating station

Aerial view of the Slave Falls generating station in summer.

Slave Falls generating station is on the Winnipeg River about 35 km east of Lac du Bonnet.

Enlarge image: Aerial view of the Slave Falls generating station in summer.

Slave Falls generating station has served Manitoba with renewable, reliable hydroelectricity for over 90 years thanks to a long history of proactive maintenance.

We are planning new work to address deteriorating concrete in some of the dam’s structures.

Nearly a century of water flow, ice, and freezing and thawing has worn on the dam’s concrete over time. In 2018, the concrete in one of the station’s sluiceway piers was found to be in poor condition. Over the 2018–19 winter season, we lowered the water level by 1 metre (3 feet) to allow for the necessary repairs.

In 2020, we continued our assessment of the concrete structures at Slave Falls. We are now taking time to develop a work plan based on those results, while also considering potential safety, environmental, social, and economic impacts under different scenarios.

Update: The design for the structural rehabilitation of the 7-bay sluiceway is nearly complete. We do not expect to lower water levels to complete this repair work which is scheduled between 2024-2026. We continue to evaluate construction alternatives for the remaining structures which will commence after the 7-bay Sluiceway Project is complete. At this time, we do not plan to lower water levels to execute this work either.

Future work plan may require lowered water levels for extended period

Any long-term plan for Slave Falls will require work over multiple years and may involve a 1 to 2 metre (about 3 to 6 feet) drop in water level between the Slave Falls and Pointe du Bois generating stations. While any reduction in water level will be temporary, it may need to continue for an extended period to accommodate the work. If the water level needs to be lowered, the water upstream of Pointe du Bois (including Lake of the Woods) will not be affected and the water level downstream of Slave Falls will not change in any noticeable way.

Slave Falls 7-Bay Sluiceway Concrete Restoration Project

Starting winter 2023, we are beginning a project to restore the 7-Bay sluiceway by repairing concrete along the rollways, piers and walkways.

The project aims to stabilize, reinforce, and strengthen the overall structure to allow for its continued safe operation.

Schedule

The project will be completed in 4 phases and should be finished in winter of 2027.

Phase 1: site access works for the 7-Bay Sluiceway (2023-24):

  • divers in the water in November;
  • private boat launches for Manitoba Hydro use (immediately upstream and downstream of Slave Falls Generating Station);
  • work pad;
  • rock bench/tower crane foundation;
  • rock production for construction use – no planned blasting in 2023-26.

Phases 2-4: concrete repairs on the 7-Bay Sluiceway (2024-27):

  • bridge seat repairs;
  • installation of confinement plates on the piers;
  • concrete repairs on the structure including walkways;
  • downstream concrete extensions on piers 2-6.

There are no water level drops or planned power outages due to this work.

Public & Indigenous feedback

We understand any decision made with respect to Slave Falls – including potential lowering of water levels – will affect local residents, Indigenous resource users, recreational waterway users, and visitors to Whiteshell Provincial Park.

In 2020, we informed anyone who might be affected by the planned or potential work at Slave Falls. We also invited those who live along or use the waterway to provide feedback through an online survey on the potential effects of any work involving lowered water levels, so we could better understand the impacts.

This input is informing our work plan and helping us find ways to avoid or limit impacts where possible.

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For more information about upcoming work at Slave Falls, contact: