In accordance with the Alberta dam and canal safety regulatory framework, a dam and canal owner is responsible and accountable for the safety of their structures and must comply with all regulatory requirements that cover the life cycle of their structures, including requirements for:

  • design
  • construction
  • operation
  • decommissioning/closure

The regulatory requirements are based on the consequence classification ratings for dams and canals, or risk posed by the structures. To monitor compliance, the requirements and the performance of the structures are tracked by the regulators. An owner may face penalties for non-compliance with the regulatory requirements.

See the Water (Offences and Penalties) Regulation for details on offences and penalties for non-conformance. Further information can be found at: Alberta Dam and Canal Safety Directive.

For details on regulatory requirements, see the Dam and canal safety regulatory framework.

Ownership and inventory

In Alberta, dams and canals are owned by:

  • corporations
  • industry
  • private landowners
  • municipalities
  • provincial or federal governments

There are approximately 1,480 regulated dams and canals throughout the province. The Government of Alberta owns and operates approximately 130 of those dams and canals.

There are many more water dams used for domestic, agriculture and industrial purposes that do not meet the minimum regulatory criteria and are not tracked by the Regulator.

For more information on the inventory and ownership, see: Inventory of regulated dam projects.

To view the complete inventory of regulated dams, visit Alberta Dam Safety Map.

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