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Keenleyside Dam

Hugh Keenleyside Dam
Keenleyside Dam is located in British Columbia
Keenleyside Dam
Location within British Columbia
LocationCastlegar, British Columbia, Canada
Coordinates49°20′22″N 117°46′19″W / 49.33944°N 117.77194°W / 49.33944; -117.77194
Construction began1968
Dam and spillways
ImpoundsColumbia River
Height52 m (171 ft)
Length853.4 m (2,800 ft)
CreatesArrow Lakes
Total capacity8.76 km3 (7,100,000 acre⋅ft)
Power Station
Installed capacity185 MW [1]
Capacity factor47.5%
Annual generation770 GWh [1]
Pacific Northwest River System

Hugh Keenleyside Dam (formerly known as the High Arrow Dam[2]) is a flood control dam[3] spanning the Columbia River, 12 km (6.5 miles) upstream of the city of Castlegar, British Columbia, Canada.


The dam is at the outflow of what was the upper and lower Arrow Lakes; today the two lakes are joined forming one long reservoir extending 232 km (144 mi) north to Revelstoke Dam, and contains 8.76 km3 (7.1 MAF) of reservoir volume. The dam is operated by BC Hydro.[4]

The 853.4 m (2,800 ft) long earth fill and concrete dam was built as part of fulfilling Canada's obligations under the Columbia River Treaty, along with the Duncan Dam, both were built to prevent flooding and control the flow of water in the Columbia River for downstream hydroelectric dams. It was commissioned on October 10, 1968, six months ahead of schedule.[4]

Immediately downstream of the dam a 185 megawatt (MW) hydroelectric powerhouse, the Arrow Lakes Generating Station, began construction in 1999 and was completed in 2002.[5] The station is owned by the Columbia Power Corporation.

Lower Arrow Lake was raised 12 metres (40 feet) above the natural levels, resulting in several towns being dismantled and relocated before their sites were flooded, including Burton.[6][7]

The dam was named after Hugh Llewellyn Keenleyside, the Canadian ambassador to Mexico, 1944–1947. Hugh Keenleyside served as the chairman of the British Columbia Power Commission and co-chairman at the British Columbia Hydro and Power Authority from 1962 to 1969.

The Arrow Lakes reservoir is described by BC Hydro as a "great waterway for boating", despite the effect that the 20 m (66 ft) difference between high and low water has on docks and ramps.[8] The dam is equipped with a navigation lock, which is available at no charge to boaters. However, commercial traffic and floating logs have priority over leisure craft.[9]

See also


  1. ^ a b Van Groll, Jonathan (2018). Value of pumped storage systems in British Columbia (Thesis). The University of British Columbia. doi:10.14288/1.0368788.
  2. ^ Columbia Basin Institute. "Construction of the High Arrow Dam". Retrieved 2015-01-05.
  3. ^ "Columbia River Treaty". BC Government. 12 December 2016. Retrieved 2021-07-23.
  4. ^ a b BC Hydro (2014). "Hugh Keenleyside Dam". Retrieved 2015-01-05.
  5. ^ Columbia Power (10 May 2013). "Arrow Lakes Generating Station". Retrieved 2015-01-05.
  6. ^ Vaillant, John (November 2008), "Muskwa-Kechika", National Geographic Magazine, archived from the original on November 10, 2008, retrieved 2015-01-05
  7. ^ "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2012-03-26. Retrieved 2011-07-08.((cite web)): CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link) pg15
  8. ^ "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2016-03-01. Retrieved 2016-02-19.((cite web)): CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  9. ^ BC Hydro (2005-11-15), Arrow Lakes Reservoir, retrieved 2015-01-05
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Keenleyside Dam
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