The Saskatchewan Party government hosted the “best dam celebration in the province” on Friday to mark the 50th anniversary of the Gardiner Dam, which opened in July 1967 after nine years of construction work.
The single largest piece of infrastructure in the province, and one of the world’s biggest earth-filled dams, the Gardiner Dam is five kilometres long and 64 metres tall. It and the smaller Qu’Appelle Dam created 225-kilometre Lake Diefenbaker.
“Gardiner Dam is the most critical piece of infrastructure in this province,” Scott Moe, minister responsible for the provincial Water Security Agency, said in a statement.
“Our population and businesses are able to grow because we can support them with water which is all made possible by Lake Diefenbaker and Gardiner Dam.”
According to the provincial government, more than 60 per cent of Saskatchewan’s population depends on Lake Diefenbaker and the South Saskatchewan River for their water supply. It would cost more than $1 billion in today’s dollars to build.
The massive facility also feeds SaskPower’s Couteau Creek Hydroelectric Station, which opened in 1969 and provides 186 megawatts of electricity — about four per cent of the province’s current 4,490 mw electrical grid.
The dam is one of 69 dams and water supply channels owned and operated by the Water Security Agency.