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High Falls hydro plans expansion

Bracebridge Generation (BGL) is proposing expansion of one of its hydroelectric plants on the Muskoka river in Ontario, Canada.

At present, High Falls hydro plant produces about 15 to 30% of the electricity needed by Bracebridge for businesses and residential use. The proposed expansion envisions an increase in plant capacity by up to 40% of the town’s electricity needs.

However, some residents who live upstream and downstream of High Falls oppose the project, on the grounds that diversion of water for hydro expansion will take away the aesthetic beauty of the falls and cause irreparable environmental damage.

BGL says it would not allow the falls to dry up, and that it will draw up a water management plan in consultation with all the stakeholders. The company says it will divert more water in the period between October and May for power generation while it will only operate one turbine during summer, allowing ample water to flow over the falls during the tourist season.

The company expects to complete the expansion in the next 18 months.