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Advancing dam safety in Ontario with OWA workshop


March 14, 2012
By Anthony Capkun

March 14, 2012 – The Ontario Waterpower Association (OWA) says it is working with the Ministry of Natural Resources to help educate dam owners in the province about the modernized standards, guidelines and best management practices for dam safety.

“I am extremely pleased with the response to this initiative,” said Paul Norris, OWA president. “Waterpower facility owners, conservation authorities and government agencies are all participating in these informative workshops.”

The modernized “Technical Guidelines” under the Lakes and Rivers Improvement Act were introduced in August 2011. OWA delivered the first workshop at the end of February and has another scheduled for the end of March. Subject matter experts from within the industry and the ministry are delivering the course content. OWA is also working with the ministry’s guidelines to develop standardized signage for public safety around dams.

“We are committed to ensuring all dam owners across the province are aware of, and understand, our modernized technical guidelines,” said Michael Gravelle, minister of natural resources. “We all share the responsibility for public safety, and that is why I am pleased to be working with the OWA on this important initiative.”

“This effort has also created a renewed interest in exploring the potential to redevelop or retrofit existing infrastructure for waterpower production,” added Norris. “There is a real opportunity to advance safety, energy and economic objectives.”

OWA says more than 5000 MW of untapped economic waterpower potential has been identified in Ontario, and only one-quarter of the province’s dams are currently used for waterpower production.