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Lake Major Dam Replacement

Lake Major dam is reaching the end of it's useful life and needs to be replaced

The existing Lake Major Dam was constructed in the 1940's. It is a timber crib structure and has reached the end of its service life. The dam must be replaced in order to enhance public safety and protect the integrity of the Dartmouth water supply.

Construction is anticipated to begin in June 2018 with the new dam to be finished by December 2018. Removal of the existing dam and final landscaping is anticipated to be complete by Fall/Winter 2019.

New Dam Features

The new dam will provide significantly more flexibility to manage water levels upstream and downstream of the dam, it will also provide:

  • More storage in the reservoir to help mitigate periods of drought
  • A fish ladder designed in accordance with the Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) requirements to improve fish migration
  • Two sluice gates to provide environmental flows to support downstream aquatic life
  • More reliability and a 50+ year lifespan
  • Reduced flood related risks.

The design of the new dam meets the Nova Scotia Environment requirements including conformance with an Environmental Assessment approval acquired in 2017.


Rendering of the new Lake Major Dam design
What to Expect

Lake Major Road will not be closed during construction of the new dam. There will be increased construction traffic in the area surrounding the dam construction site, and appropriate construction signage will be used along Lake Major Road.

In order to safely complete this work, the contractor will construct the dam in phases within a cofferdam system. This will allow the worksite to be isolated from the Lake and minimize the impact on aquatic life and the environment. As a result of the Environmental Assessment, the project is required to follow an Environmental Protection Plan that is specifically tailored to ensuring the work is completed safely and with no negative environmental impacts on Lake Major and the Little Salmon River.

Project Cost

The Lake Major Dam Replacement Project is budgeted at just over $4.5 million with $3.4 million coming from federal/provincial funding with project wrap-up by August 31, 2019.