Slave Falls generating station

Work on concrete structures & new portage route

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 starting as early as fall 2020.

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.

Now, further tests on some of the station’s other structures have found additional sections of concrete in poor condition that need to be addressed. This summer, we will continue to assess all concrete structures at Slave Falls and results of those tests will be used to develop a plan, which is expected to be available this fall.

We are acting proactively to ensure Slave Falls remains stable and safe.

Aerial view of the Slave Falls generating station in summer.

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

Lowered water levels may be necessary for extended period

Any plan for Slave Falls is likely to require work over multiple years and may involve a 1 to 2 metre (about 3 to 6 feet) drop in water level between Slave Falls and Pointe du Bois generating stations, as early as fall 2020. While any reduction in water level will be temporary, it may need to continue for an extended period to accommodate the work.

Public & Indigenous feedback

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

This summer, we are informing anyone who might be affected by the planned or potential work at Slave Falls. We are also inviting those who live along or use the waterway to provide feedback on the potential effects of any planned work or changes at the station, including lowered water levels, so we can better understand the impacts.

This input will inform our plans and help find ways to avoid or limit impacts where possible.

Sign up for email notifications about the work and engagement activities:

New portage route coming spring 2021

Following a recent safety review at Slave Falls Generating Station, the existing safety boom and portage route around the station will be moving.

Orange line shows proposed new portage route. Blue line shows existing portage.

Map of the proposed new portage route on the Winnipeg River.
Enlarge image.

This fall, we will begin work on the new all-season safety boom that will cross the entire Winnipeg River upstream of Slave Falls. The safety boom is a barrier that limits water access around the station to make the area safe for the public. Warning buoys will also be installed on the downstream side of the generating station to alert boaters to the dangerous waterway zone in this area.

The new safety boom and buoys will block the existing portage route, so a new portage route will be created to provide safe passage around the generating station and enable access to the waterway downstream of Slave Falls.

The proposed route of the new portage is on the west side of the Winnipeg River.

Work to install the new safety boom and create the new portage route is expected to start in fall 2020 and be completed by spring 2021. The existing portage will be unavailable as of spring 2021.

Public & Indigenous feedback

This summer, we will speak with local residents, Indigenous and surrounding communities, and recreational waterway users to collect feedback, understand concerns, and assess potential impacts related to the proposed new portage route. Their input will inform final routing and design of the new portage. We expect to make a final decision on the new portage route this fall.

Sign up for email notifications about the new portage route and engagement activities:

Contact us

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