Dams and generating stations

Water around our generating stations is turbulent. Strong currents, undertow, and rapidly changing water levels can quickly turn a dry riverbed into fast moving water.

Stay a safe distance away from marked-off areas when fishing, boating, or swimming. Getting too close, or ignoring warning signs, can be fatal.

Safety booms mark dangerous water zones near spillway entrances
For your safety, stay away from booms (temporary floating barriers around dangerous areas) in waterways.

On both the upstream and downstream sides of a hydro dam:

  • Look for and obey all warning signs.
  • Stay on clearly marked walkways or observation points.
  • Stay away from fenced-off areas:
    • booms, which are temporary floating barriers in waterways;
    • buoys, which are anchored floats in waterways;
    • other barriers that prevent you from accessing dangerous grounds.
  • If you hear a horn or siren at a generating station, it’s a warning that the spillway is about to open and water levels are about to change. If you are downstream of the dam, move away quickly.
  • Keep your watercraft (or boat) away from either side of the dam or spillway. A sudden change in the water can swamp your boat and pull you into an undertow, or overturn and sink it.
  • Never wade into moving water. Be aware of slippery or unstable rocks along the waterline. If you fall, you could be injured or drown.
  • Keep a close watch over children and make sure they are aware of hazards.

All boaters in Manitoba are required to have a boating license (a Pleasure Craft Operator card).

In winter, never snowmobile, walk, snowshoe, cross-country ski, skate, or ice fish on rivers near dams and generating stations. The surface may appear solid, but ice forming on waterways near generating stations can be dangerously thin, weak, and unstable.

Dangerous waterway zones

The map below indicates dangerous waterway zones. Avoid these zones and listen for a siren warning that water conditions are about to change.

From mid-May to mid-October, the dangerous water zone near the spillway entrance is marked by a boom.

Illustrations are for general information purposes only. They may not be accurate, complete or correct and should not be relied upon for navigation or to determine distance, direction or the location of hazards and features.