Cleveland Dam, Vancouver

On a recent trip to Canada I had some free weekend time in Vancouver and decided to visit Cleveland Dam and Capilano Lake, its impounded storage. These are located to the North West of downtown Vancouver and its great to see a dual purpose facility for both water supply and public amenity.

Cleveland Dam is a mass concrete dam commissioned 1954 with a maximum height of 97m above natural creek level. It was constructed using over 100×106m3 of concrete after excavating some 430×103m3 of granite. It is not a euphemism that the water falls past granite cliffs on its way to the sea – as can be seen in the photo below looking downstream from the dam wall.

View downstream along the Capilano River from the top of Cleveland Dam.
View downstream along the Capilano River from the top of Cleveland Dam.

On the day I visited there was only limited spills underway and the primary high flow control was visible, which appeared to be a drum type gate. This appears similar to other designs of that vintage, see for example Warrgamba Dam near Sydney.

Cleveland Dam drum gate with limited "leak" spills only.
Cleveland Dam drum gate with limited “leak” spills only.

Below the drum gate is a concrete lined chute with a number of energy abatement structures at the base before the discharged water is allowed to reenter the Capilano River.

Concrete lined spillway and energy abatement structures before the Capilano River
Concrete lined spillway and energy abatement structures before the Capilano River

This facility can provide almost 35% of Vancouver’s drinking water needs (reference retrieved 2018-03-26). At 62×109l capacity this seems to be a relatively small facility, however, with its location in such a high rainfall region with correspondingly high replenishment rates it is easy to image the system supplying that volume of potable.

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