Through Budget 2024, Alberta’s government is taking action to protect communities and vital water management infrastructure from the impacts of floods.

RED DEER, AB – Alberta’s water management infrastructure provides a reliable water supply for irrigation, municipal, industrial, agricultural and recreational use, as well as fish and wildlife habitat, flood mitigation and erosion protection. This includes infrastructure like the Dickson Dam. Built in 1983, the dam helps supplement adequate water supply for Red Deer and Drumheller and enhance low winter flows along the Red Deer River.

To ensure Alberta’s growing communities are protected and have the water supply they need, Alberta’s government is continuing to invest in strong water management infrastructure. Budget 2024 earmarks an additional $50 million over three years to more than $140 million for the Water Management Program to complete vital projects like the Dickson Dam Spillway Enhancement Project.

“Our government is committed to investing in and building a strong water management program to protect communities and infrastructure from floods and drought,” said RJ Sigurdson, Minister of Agriculture and Irrigation. “We are taking a whole-government approach to managing and maintaining provincial water systems to make sure Albertans have a safe, reliable water supply.”

The Dickson Dam Spillway Enhancement project will boost the capacity of the operating and auxiliary spillways for the dam, which will allow more water to be safely discharged out of the Gleniffer Reservoir during floods. Delivered by Transportation and Economic Corridors, Phase 1 of the Dickson Dam Capacity Enhancement Project was completed in 2023. Phase 2 is scheduled to begin in 2024.

“It’s great to see this significant infrastructure investment in Innisfail-Sylvan Lake. The Dickson Dam is critically important to support better flood mitigation and adequate water supply for the region while also serving as a beautiful tourist attraction and source of hydroelectric power along the Red Deer River,” said Devin Dreeshen, Minister of Transportation and Economic Corridors.

Gleniffer Lake is the reservoir created by the dam. It provides a reliable, year-round water supply that supports industrial, regional and municipal growth, and is also a valuable recreational and hydroelectric power generation resource.

Alberta’s government is taking action, planning ahead and working with water partners so Alberta is ready for whatever may come in future years. The government is managing resources wisely to protect the environment and prepare communities and the economy for potential drought, fire and flood.

“Since the 1980s, the Dickson Dam has provided communities and industry downstream with a reliable supply of water year-round while also providing a measure of flood protection to those living along the Red Deer River,” said Rebecca Schulz, Minister of Environment and Protected Areas. “These improvements will ensure this critical infrastructure can safely manage extreme flood events for years to come.”

Dickson Dam Phase 2

Phase 2 of the Dickson Dam Spillway Enhancement Project will see construction crews modify and upgrade the auxiliary spillway – increasing its capacity to 4,900 cubic metres per second from 2,800 cubic metres per second – and make dam and dike upgrades.

Work on the project is expected to begin this year, boosting the discharge capacity of the auxiliary spillway for the dam and improving safety and flood-handling capability for the Gleniffer Reservoir.

Phase 1 of the project was completed in October 2023. This work included making modifications to the existing service spillway to increase its capacity to 3,500 cubic metres from 2,500 cubic metres.

Budget 2024 is a responsible plan to build safe and supportive communities, manage the province’s resources wisely and promote job creation to continue to build Alberta’s competitive advantage.

Quick facts

  • The government’s provincial water management infrastructure provides a reliable water supply for irrigation, municipal, industrial, agricultural and recreational use, as well as fish and wildlife habitat, flood mitigation and erosion protection.
  • Agriculture and Irrigation owns and operates more than 80 dams in the province, 340 kilometres of major irrigation headworks canals, four pumping stations, flood protection berms and dykes.
  • This infrastructure helps supply water for irrigation, communities and industry.



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