Backgrounder

Investing in our system backgrounder

BC Hydro has been investing in seismic safety for decades. Over the next 10 years, BC Hydro will invest $1.9 billion in dam safety and seismic upgrades.

Ongoing and future projects

Spillway gates program: Spillway gates act as movable water barriers, controlling the amount of water that can be discharged from the reservoir. They are critical components of any dam and are generally used in times of flood management when high inflows exceed the ability of generating units to use all of the water.

Since 2005, BC Hydro has upgraded spillway gates at the Cheakamus, Duncan, Terzaghi, Seton and Stave Falls dams. BC Hydro is currently upgrading or planning to upgrade gates at the Hugh Keenleyside, W.A.C. Bennett, Peace Canyon, Ladore, Clowhom, John Hart and Strathcona dams.

  • Ongoing 
  • Cost: $400 million

Ruskin dam and powerhouse upgrade: Major upgrades to the facility began in 2012. The upgrades will make the facility safer, better able to withstand an earthquake and more efficient. BC Hydro is replacing the existing spillway concrete piers and roadway bridge, seven spillway gates, three generating units, ancillary equipment and water conveyance and control systems, and upgrading the powerhouse to address seismic deficiencies.

  • Completion date: 2017
  • Cost: $748 million

John Hart Generating Station upgrade: Built in 1947, John Hart Generating Station is aging and the generating station needs to be replaced. A new facility and pipelines will meet today’s seismic safety expectations.

  • Completion date: 2019
  • Cost: $1 billion

Completed projects

Elsie Dam safety upgrade: Dam safety upgrades, including modifications to the low level outlet and intake structure, were completed to improve the seismic performance of the dam in major earthquakes.      

  • Completed: 2004
  • Cost: $19 million

Coquitlam Dam rebuild: The old Coquitlam dam was completed in 1913. BC Hydro constructed a new dam, which included construction of new earth and rock fill embankment downstream of the existing one to meet current seismic expectations.

  • Completed: 2008
  • Cost: $65 million

Strathcona Dam intake tower project: BC Hydro refurbished the intake tower at the Strathcona facility. Twenty-two steel rods were installed in the 36.5 metre tall structure to anchor it to bedrock.

  • Completed: 2009/10
  • Cost: $20 million

Vancouver City Central Transmission project: BC Hydro built a new transmission line and substation in Vancouver that can withstand a large earthquake.

  • Completed: 2014
  • Cost: $171 million

For more information please contact:

BC Hydro Media Relations

p. 604 928 6468