May 23, 2015


Local

Hydro reveals forecast for Keeyask flooding

The yet-to-be-built Keeyask generating station will flood about 45 square kilometres of land when it comes into service in 2021, an environmental hearing heard Thursday.

That's less than was originally forecast because of modifications to the dam's design, but it's just the starting point of more widespread flooding in future years due to erosion caused by higher reservoir water levels upstream of the dam.

The issue of potential flooding was raised by Manitoba Wildlands director Gaile Whelan Enns during questioning of a Hydro panel on whether Hydro had learned from past mistakes in its hydroelectric development in the province's north.

Enns said environmental impact statement documents show the full extent of flooding on the Nelson River due to Keeyask won't be known until at least eight years after the powerhouse goes into operation.

Vicky Cole, manager of major projects assessment and licensing for the Crown utility, told the Clean Environment Commission all parties are aware of predicted wider flooding. Keeyask is being developed in partnership with four First Nations most affected by the new dam -- Tataskweyak Cree Nation, Fox Lake, War Lake and York Factory.

Hydro officials said more widespread flooding, mostly caused by the erosion of peatlands along the Nelson River, could eventually take in an estimated eight-square-kilometre area. By comparison, flooding caused by the Kettle generating station following its construction in 1974 flooded a 220-square-kilometre area along the Nelson River.

Hydro said during the first 30 years of operation, the reservoir will expand in area by about seven to eight square kilometres because of shoreline erosion and peatland disintegration.

Cole said because of local concerns, Hydro changed the dam's design to reduce the amount of flooding but still keep the 695-megawatt facility economically feasible.

"The communities that are most affected by this development have been engaged," Cole said. "They've been engaged in helping us design mitigation to ensure that it's appropriate and minimize the adverse effects of the project."

The CEC is hearing evidence for the next six weeks on the environmental impact of Keeyask to decide whether or not to recommend the province issue an environmental licence.

The feasibility of the dam is also to be studied by the Public Utilities Board in the new year in what's called a Needs For and Alternatives To review.

Manitoba Hydro and the province say the $6.2-billion dam is needed to meet growing domestic demand for electricity and to meet future export commitments to the United States.

On the same day the CEC started hearing evidence in Winnipeg Monday, Minnesota Power filed paperwork with the state regulator to get approval to build the Great Northern Transmission Line from the Manitoba border to Duluth. The line is to be co-owned by Minnesota Power and Manitoba Hydro.

bruce.owen@freepress.mb.ca

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition October 25, 2013 A14

History

Updated on Friday, October 25, 2013 at 12:34 PM CDT: Corrects that flooding could affect estimated eight-square-kilometre area, no 80-square-kilometre area

You can comment on most stories on winnipegfreepress.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

Have Your Say

New to commenting? Check out our Frequently Asked Questions.

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscribers only. why?

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press Subscribers only. why?

The Winnipeg Free Press does not necessarily endorse any of the views posted. By submitting your comment, you agree to our Terms and Conditions. These terms were revised effective January 2015.

Winnipeg Free Press | @WinnipegNews

May 23 12:08 pm

ATU Local 1505 prez John Callahan says union is happy with tentative deal; more details at 1:15 pm newser. Our story: wfp.to/RTe

Winnipeg Free Press | @WinnipegNews

May 23 11:54 am

Transit director Dave Wardrop will hold a 1:15pm news conference to discuss the deal with ATU. #wpgpoli #wpgcouncil

Dan Lett | @danlett

May 23 11:48 am

Saturday column: Where is next the Orange Wave? - via @WinnipegNews shar.es/1rEoRI #cdnpoli

Aldo Santin | @aldosantin

May 23 11:33 am

Winnipeg Transit director Dave Wardrop holding 1:15 pm newser to discuss new deal w/ATU 1505, 421 Osborne #wpgpoli #wpgcouncil

Winnipeg Free Press | @WinnipegNews

May 23 11:28 am

Andretti family brushes off so-called curse at Indianapolis wfp.to/RT2

Scroll down to load more

Top