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

There are approximately 1,500 regulated dams and canals in Alberta. The Government of Alberta owns and operates approximately 130 of those regulated structures. View an inventory of those dams at: Alberta Dam Safety Map.

These dams and canals are owned by:

  • corporations
  • industry
  • private landowners
  • municipalities
  • both the provincial and federal governments

For more information, see: Inventory of regulated dam projects (PDF, 413 KB).

Not all dams are regulated. Several water dams used for domestic, agriculture and industrial purposes do not meet the minimum regulatory criteria outlined in the Water (Ministerial) Regulation. These dams are not tracked by the regulator nor are they included in the inventory of dams.