Wednesday, October 5, 2011

The Dam Tour

Or, as Londoners prefer to say it, the tour of the dam.  Probably the same reason Canadians say ash-falt for asphalt.  While we regularly get exposed to other, far worse language, it is considered ill mannered to say ass or hell in public.  Go figure!

Yesterday Mary and Peter joined other area home schooling teens for a tour of the Fanshawe Reservoir Dam.  Though they left reluctantly yesterday morning, they came home in better spirits.  They both said the tour was well worth their time, and their guide was terrific.

They learned why it was important to London and folks further downstream.  The 1937 flood submerged houses near downtown London up over their roof tops.  It was constructed in 1950, the first of eight proposed dams.  Three others were built, but remaining 5 have been abandoned.  Instead, authorities work to keep folks from settling on the remaining flood plains.

The dam protected London and communities downstream as late as 2000, 2008 and 2009.  We witnessed the 2009 high water levels in the Thames River flowing through London.  It was pretty impressive.  What would have been more impressive, imho, is if we had realized what was keeping higher water levels from devastating the area.

This dam also hosts a hydroelectric plant capable of providing for 300 households.  Normal water storage for the reservoir is 12 billion litres (3.17 million gallons), full it can contain 48 billion litres (12.7 million gallons).   It might not be large by most standards.  However, having witnessed the destruction of flash floods in the desert, and river flooding along the Mississippi and other river systems, it is good to know we are protected here.

The tour took them from the surface to the lowest tunnel, 100 ' below the surface.  Evidence of water seepage, and calcium build up (the kids mentioned a definite sulfur "rotten egg" odor.  

Back on the surface, to see bright blue skies and geese migrating to warmer climes south!

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