DAMS OF THE COLUMBIA BASIN

Aberfeldie
Bonnington Falls
Boundary Falls Brilliant Dam Cascade Corra Linn Cottonwood Creek Duncan Elko Goat River Granby Hugh Keenleyside Illecillewaet Kaslo Kootenay Canal Libby Lower Bonnington Mark Creek Mica Revelstoke Seven Mile Silversmith Powerhouse South Slocan Spillimacheen Upper Bonnington Walter Hardman Waneta Whatshan

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Libby Dam
Libby Dam

Aerial view Libby dam, upstream view.

THE DAMS

The Kootenay Region of Southeastern British Columbia is known for its rugged terrain, snow capped peaks, swift moving water and defined seasons. All these landscape features make it a natural choice for hydro development. The snow pack that accumulates during the winter season melts during the spring and early summer, raising the levels of the lakes and rivers. This rush of water in addition to the steep sided valleys, and vertical drops creates a beneficial environment for hydroelectric development.

Beginning in the 1890s with the increased development brought to the area through mining, hydro development began to take place. From the first hydroelectric plant built in Nelson in 1896 on Cottonwood Creek, to the large BC Hydro developments on the Kootenay and Pend d'Oreille Rivers and the new power plants built by the Columbia Power Corporation, hydro development continues to this day.

The history of the development is as diverse as the types of development. From small run of the river plants that were combined with municipal water works to large water storage dams created for fulfillment of the Columbia River Treaty with the United States the level of power generation varies, the impact on the land around the development varies and the impact on the people who settled in the area varies as well.

Explore the different dams of the region. Follow their development, their influence on the land and their influence on the people who depend on them or were affected by their construction.