Manitoba has an abundant supply of surface water with many large lakes and thousands of smaller ones (chapter 2). However, much of the water is in the north or drains to the north where there is a sparse population. In the south dams and reservoirs have been constructed to conserve water in some areas, whereas in other places projects were designed to drain water from the land to make it suitable for cultivation. The province’s rivers offered enormous potential for hydroelectric power, much of which has now been exploited, starting with a small-scale project on the Little Saskatchewan River and progressing to large projects on the Winnipeg, Saskatchewan and Nelson rivers. Two thermal power stations at Brandon and Selkirk on the Assiniboine and Red rivers illustrate the need for an assurred water supply. Flooding has been a problem since the earliest days of the province, especially along the Assiniboine and Red rivers culminating in the 1997 “Flood of the Century” in the Red RiverValley. Dams, diversions and ring dikes are used to divert the floodwaters to less critical areas.
16.37: Thermal Power Station at Brandon
Approximately 98 percent of Manitoba’s electricity is provided by hydro power stations, mainly on the Winnipeg, Saskatchewan and Nelson rivers. However, the province has two thermal power stations as back up in case of low flow along the rivers, mainly in winter. Although not much water is used in the actual production of thermal electricity, a good assured water supply is needed for cooling. Consequently the two stations are on rivers, that in Selkirk on the Red River, and that in Brandon on the Assiniboine River 1 shown here. A weir 2 has been built across the eastward-flowing Assiniboine to maintain water level at the intake 3 to the plant. The power station 4 is located south of the river. It has three “smoke” stacks 5 that throw shadows 6 almost due west, indicating that this photo was taken early in the morning. Three sets of transformers 7 are located west of the plant. At the time the photo was taken the fuel was coal, although the plant has now converted to natural gas. Coal was brought from Saskatchewan on a railway line 8 that passes south of the plant. A train carrying coal can be seen 9 as well as a large dark-toned coal pile 10 from which a conveyor 11 leads to the plant. Between the plant and the river is a holding pond 12 surrounded by an embankment 13 in which wastewater is held before being released along a channel 14 into the AssiniboineRiver.
Also visible are Koch Fertilizer Canada Ltd. 15 in the southwest, several irregular gravel pits 16, and the CP line in the north 17.
Figure 16.37: Thermal Power Station at Brandon
Vertical air photograph: 7207 No 00 005
Flight height: ; lens focal length:
Scale: 1:14,400 (approx.)
Location: Township 10; Range 18WI
Map sheets: 1:250,000 62G Brandon
1:50,000 62G/13 Brandon
1:25,000 62G/13d Brandon (Information dates from 1964).