Qu'Appelle River Dam

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Qu'Appelle River Dam
LocationMaple Bush No. 224, Saskatchewan, Canada
Coordinates50°58′57″N 106°25′57″W / 50.98250°N 106.43250°W / 50.98250; -106.43250Coordinates: 50°58′57″N 106°25′57″W / 50.98250°N 106.43250°W / 50.98250; -106.43250
Opening date1967
Owner(s)Saskatchewan Watershed Authority
Dam and spillways
Type of damEmbankment dam
Height27 metres (89 ft)
Length3,100 metres (10,200 ft)
Spillway capacity1,400 cubic metres (49,000 cu ft) per second
CreatesLake Diefenbaker
Total capacity9,400,000,000 cubic metres (3.3×1011 cu ft)
Catchment area126,000 square kilometres (49,000 sq mi)
Maximum water depth58 metres (190 ft)

The Qu'appelle River Dam is the smaller of two embankment dams: which created Lake Diefenbaker in Saskatchewan, Canada. The larger dam is Gardiner Dam, the biggest embankment dam in Canada and one of the biggest in the world. Construction of both dams began in the 1959 and was completed in 1967. The dam keeps the flow of water in the Qu'Appelle River relatively constant, as the Qu'Appelle river used to dry up in many places every summer when the snow that fills in the South Saskatchewan River from the Rocky Mountains was done melting. This along with Buffalo Pound Dam at Buffalo Pound Lake, which supplies water to Regina, Moose Jaw and the Mosaic potash mine at Belle Plaine, keeps the lake from fluctuating too much. The Canadian Pacific Railway crosses the river atop of the dam. The dam is 3100 metres long and 27 metres high. Douglas Provincial Park (named after former premier of Saskatchewan Tommy Douglas) extends from the dam to Mistusinne.

Highway 19 crosses the Qu'Appelle Valley about 1 km southeast of the dam, and provides access to a vantage point of the dam Lake Diefenbaker and the Qu'Appelle Valley.

NASA satellite image of Lake Diefenbaker showing the Qu'Appelle River Dam at the southeast end and the Gardiner Dam at the northeast end

During the time of glaciation on North America, the retreating glacier would block the flow north and would force the water flow down the Qu'Appelle River. When the glaciers retreated further, water would then flow north. Before the Gardiner Dam was built, spring flows were high enough to allow water down the Qu'Appelle but would dry up later in the fall. Now as the Qu'Appelle Dam always retains the water of Lake Diefenbaker, water is released into the Qu'Appelle to maintain flows all year long. This serves the farmers along the Qu'Appelle who use it for irrigation and watering their livestock.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Fact Sheet" (PDF). Saskatchewan Watershed Authority. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2011-07-06. Retrieved 2011-06-24.

External links[edit]