How to stay safe around hydropower facilities,
upstream and downstream alike:

  • Be cautious and keep your distance.
  • When in doubt, keep away from the banks and don’t go swimming.
  • Keep children in sight at all times.
  • Always stay in designated observation areas.
  • Never bring your boat too close to a hydropower facility.

Snapshot of risks

  • Eddies, visible or invisible, which can drag you under.
  • Strong currents.
  • Sudden changes in water level.
  • Flash flooding of dry areas.
  • Recirculating water below weirs, no matter their height.
  • Steep or slippery banks.
  • Invisible rocks just below the surface.
  • Thinner ice around hydropower facilities.

Upstream and downstream, defined!

Picture a river flowing down a mountain into a valley. There's a dam across the river. The area between the dam and the top of the mountain is upstream (think about the connection between upstream and uphill). The area between the dam and the valley is downstream (think about the connection between downstream and downhill).

Video: Staying safe around a hydropower facility

Always stay clear of hydropower facilities, like hydroelectric generating stations, spillways and weirs. It’s just like getting too close to a waterfall! These images will give you an idea of the very real hazards you may face, both downstream and upstream, such as sudden water level changes, eddies and strong currents. It’s not hard to stay safe: stay away from the facilities, both along the shore and in the water. Always obey the warnings!