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FortisBC reminds public to stay safe around hydroelectric dams

Fortis BC
By Fortis BC
July 25th, 2023

The summer season is when many enjoy recreational water activities such as fishing, swimming and boating.

For any British Columbian doing so near FortisBC Inc. (FortisBC)’s hydroelectric dams or generating plants on the Kootenay River, the company is reminding everyone about proper safety precautions.

“Safety is a top priority at FortisBC, and we ask anyone near our dams and generating plants to keep themselves safe at all times,” said Tanya Kowalenko, public safety manager at FortisBC.

“Where there is water, there is inherent danger in the risk of drowning. We ask everyone to obey all safety protocols, supervise children at all times and err on the side of caution regarding your own comfort levels with water.”

Safety precautions include:

  • Know what they are. Before heading out for some fun in and around water, know the area and its potential dangers, and stay alert.
  • Stay out of all restricted areas and obey all warning signs, both above and below dams, including those that indicate Private Property.
  • Remember that water levels can rise or fall quickly and unexpectedly, on a daily basis, since FortisBC uses the flow of water to generate electricity. Canoes or unpowered boats may be pulled through a spillway or capsized by strong currents or undertow. Be aware that floating debris and concealed hazards (especially in shallow shoreline areas) can accompany changes in water levels.
  • If boating, canoeing or kayaking, turn around well before reaching a dam or portage around it.
  • Don’t stand or tie/anchor your boat below a dam since rapid and unexpected changes in water flows and levels can create significant hazards.
  • If boating, remember to adhere to all regulations of the Canadian Coast Guard and always follow safe boating practices.
  • Keep a safe distance from waterways that could have unstable footing or slippery banks.

“Overall, we ask everyone to obey all warning signs and respect fenced, marked and gated areas. And stay outside of safety booms, markers and buoys,” added Kowalenko.

“Water recreational activities are fun, but please remain safe.”

FortisBC owns and operates four hydroelectric dams or generating plants on the Kootenay River, which provide about 45 per cent of the annual electricity needs of its customers, including the Corra Linn, Upper Bonnington, Lower Bonnington and South Slocan Plants.

They also operate and maintain five additional generating plants owned by others. For more information on staying safe around dams, please visit fortisbc.com/damsafety.

 

 

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