The spillway of North Vancouver's Cleveland Dam, which Metro Vancouver is considering tapping for hydro power (photo:

Concerns Raised About Metro Vancouver’s Plan to Turn Drinking Water into Hydro Power


Metro Vancouver is quite far along in a proposal to harness hydro power from our drinking water spillways at the Capilano reservoir’s Cleveland Dam and also at the Seymour reservoir. Although at first glance it might seem like a good idea, this plan introduces a new and potentially competing factor affecting the allocation of our local water supply.

The wisdom of this proposed endeavour is questionable given the growing risks of unpredictable climate change, environmentally intrusive construction, the involvement of private interests in a precious public asset, plus concerns about actual rather than theoretical economic viability.

Residents of Metro Van would care if they knew

The allocation and treatment of drinking water is a topic about which the public is increasingly concerned and passionate. However, residents of Metro Vancouver are virtually unaware of this proposal which was recently unanimously endorsed (September 2012) by the Board overseeing the project.

Earlier hydro power proposal shot down

This is not the first time hydro power generation from our water spills has been proposed. After serious consideration, a similar proposal was rejected some years ago.

Opportunity for public input poorly advertised

Metro Vancouver is required to consult with the public about this proposal. Appallingly, a ‘public consultation’ held on October 10, 2012 was attended by less than 50 members of the public. This was surely not an indication of lack of public interest. Rather, it indicates that ineffective and antiquated methods were used for announcing this opportunity for public input.

What you can do

This project is called the Joint Water Use Plan for the Capilano and Seymour watersheds (JWUP).
It has serious implications regarding the future use of our local water supplies and public funds.
Effective consultation with the public is needed.

You can find out more about it here.

You can submit official feedback by October 19, 2012 here.

You can tell Metro Vancouver what you think about this JWUP proposal by emailing:

Mary Johnston represents watermatters, a Vancouver-based business specializing in water treatment equipment



About Damien Gillis

Damien Gillis is a Vancouver-based documentary filmmaker with a focus on environmental and social justice issues - especially relating to water, energy, and saving Canada's wild salmon - working with many environmental organizations in BC and around the world. He is the co-founder, along with Rafe Mair, of The Common Sense Canadian, and a board member of both the BC Environmental Network and the Haig-Brown Institute.

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