Slave Falls generating station
Update on work plan for concrete structures
Slave Falls generating station has served Manitoba with renewable, reliable hydroelectricity for over 90 years thanks to a long history of proactive maintenance.
Now 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.
We do not anticipate any water level changes in 2021. An update on our work plan will be provided in 2022.
Anchoring project starting in September
An anchoring project is starting in mid-September 2021 as the next step in addressing some of the concrete deterioration issues in the sluiceway while we continue to develop our longer-term work plan for the station. This work will help maintain the integrity of the dam and preserve the safety of surrounding waterways and the people who use them.
We will be drilling through the concrete sluiceway piers to install steel anchors between the top of the pier and bedrock below. Aside from an increase in traffic and some construction noise in the area, impacts are expected to be minimal. Water levels are not expected to change during the project and no local power outages are planned. The project is scheduled to be completed in December 2021.
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.
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 will inform our work plan and help us find ways to avoid or limit impacts where possible.
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New portage route now open
Following construction over the spring and early-summer, the new portage route at Slave Falls Generating Station is now open. The old portage route has been closed and will be returned to its natural state as vegetation gradually grows in.
Relocating the portage route to the west side of the Winnipeg River at Slave Falls was necessary due to planned safety enhancements at the station, including the installation of a new all-season safety boom on the upstream side that will permanently block access to the old portage route.
The new portage allows for safe passage around the generating station and enables access to the waterway downstream of Slave Falls. There is signage on the island upstream of the generating station and at the water entry and exit points directing portage users to the new route.
New safety boom and buoys installed this summer
The installation of the new safety boom upstream of Slave Falls and warning buoys on the downstream side was completed in early August. These upgrades limit water access around the station to make the area safe for the public and alert boaters to the dangerous waterway zone in this area.
Public & Indigenous engagement
Local residents, Indigenous and surrounding communities, and recreational waterway users were engaged at the onset of this project to collect feedback, understand concerns, and assess potential impacts of the relocation. This input helped inform our final routing and design of the new portage route.
For more information about upcoming work at Slave Falls, contact: