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Posted: September 19, 2023

City seeking funds for Gold Creek Dam critical infrastructure

City of Cranbrook council agreed last week, to work with city administration to engage with applicable regulatory bodies, funding agencies and senior levels of government to request financial support for the replacement of the failing Gold Creek Dam, as the primary drinking water source for the city.

The Gold Creek Dam was originally constructed in 1912 to take water from Gold Creek and supply the Joseph Creek Dam (now Idlewild Dam) with water using a combination of pipes and an open ditch structures. Over the years many minor upgrades occurred to the Gold Creek Dam, spillway repairs, intake replacement and the pipeline but never a full reconstruction of the Dam itself.

Without Gold Creek water the city would be on severe water restrictions to ensure potable drinking water.

The Gold Creek Dam is in a critical state of disrepair due to its age and deteriorating condition. In 2018 a major piping failure was discovered causing the Dam structure to become unstable. Emergency repairs were made at the time and are currently still preventing full failure of the structure. The temporary repair is holding but unknown how much longer it will last.

This past summer’s drought and wildfire events have highlighted the critical nature of having a sustainable and adequate water supply.

Under the current operating conditions, if the Gold Creek Dam was to fail, the city would immediately be at critical risk of a complete drawdown of the Phillips reservoir, which would be followed by an inability to supply the upper pressure zones of the city with water for drinking and fire protection.

The city has invested $550,000 to date for the recent design of a new dam which would be at a cost estimate of around $14 million.

Lead image: City of Cranbrook council recently toured Gold Creek Dam.  City of Cranbrook file photo


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