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BC construction workers upgrade lining of Kootenay Canal


Construction Skills Development

A team of about 70 BC Hydro workers has drained the Kootenay Canal as part of a project that will ensure the Kootenay Canal Generating Station maintains safe and reliable operations.

The project is taking place along the Kootenay River in order to upgrade the canal’s lining. Extremely durable and specialized geotextile material designed for water storage in canals and reservoirs is being used.

The material is expected to extend the lifespan of the canal by about 50 years, and the total project cost is $10 million. Approximately 108,000 square feet of the material will be installed along the north and south sides of the canal.

Completed in 1976, the waterway feeds the Kootenay Canal Generating Station and is roughly 16,500 feet long. It has a water depth of 50 feet, and water flows of 27,000 cubic feet per second.


Nearly 70 workers are involved with this project from planning to project completion. This includes engineers, safety experts, construction workers and environment workers. Up to about 35 people will be on-site at any given time while the canal work takes place.

BC Hydro is also taking steps to make sure it continues to meet operations requirements while the project work is underway, and water in the Kootenay River continues to be used efficiently. Crews will continue to reroute water through the Corra Linn Dam along the Kootenay River. Some water is also being stored in Kootenay Lake while the Kootenay Canal is drained and the generating station is out of service. The stored water can then be used for generation when the facility returns to service.

Walking trails along the canal will remain accessible through the duration of the maintenance work. To ensure public safety, BC Hydro has installed safety signage along the trails.

Click here to view a time-lapse video of the draining of Kootenay Canal.


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