Dam Ownership

Who is Responsible for the Safety of Dams in Alberta?

In accordance with the Alberta Dam Safety Regulatory Framework, dam owners are responsible for the safety of their dams. Dam owners must comply with dam safety regulatory requirements covering the life cycle of a dam including:

  • Construction
  • Operation
  • Maintenance
  • Surveillance

The Dam Safety Regulator ensures that a robust dam safety management program is in place for the safety of the structures as well as compliance with the regulatory requirements.

Dam owners are also required to develop and exercise Emergency Preparedness and Response Plans and share those with downstream stakeholders. These plans are prepared by qualified professionals and provide detailed information on procedures to be followed for managing potential emergency situations related to the safety of the dams.

During potential dam safety emergencies, dam owners will be in contact with downstream emergency response agencies and other stakeholders to ensure public safety as well as minimize potential economic and environmental impacts.

Who are Alberta’s Dam Owners?

Alberta’s approximately 1550 regulated dams are owned by government, various corporations, municipalities and private landowners. The Government of Alberta owns and operates approximately 10 per cent of the 1550 regulated dams.

In addition to the regulated dams, there are many other water dams owned by private land owners that do not meet the minimum regulatory criteria outlined in the Water (Ministerial) Regulation. These dams are most often used for stock watering and domestic uses, are not formally tracked by the Dam Safety Regulator and are not included in the current inventory or displayed on the Dam Inventory Map.

Pie chart showing current inventory of dams in Alberta by ownership, 2014-15

The current inventory of dams in Alberta by consequence classification (2014-15) is shown below.

Pie chart showing current inventory of dams in Alberta by consequence classification, 2014-15

For more information, see:

The following graph shows the current inventory of dams in Alberta by consequence classification and ownership.

Graph showing the consequence classification of dams in Alberta by ownership

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Updated: Sep 19, 2018