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Niagara Falls

Hydroelectric Power

International agreements control the diversion of water for hydroelectric power; weirs divert part of the flow above the deeper Canadian Falls to supplement the flow in the shallower American Falls. Hydroelectric-power developments were authorized under the Niagara Diversion Treaty (1950), which stipulated a minimum flow to be reserved for the falls and the equal division of the remaining flow between the United States and Canada. In the United States the project was undertaken by the Power Authority of the State of New York (now New York Power Authority). Water is diverted from the river above the upper rapids into large underground conduits. It is then conveyed overland, dropping 314 ft (96 m) to a point below the lower rapids where, as it returns to the river, the water passes through turbines that power 13 generators of the Robert Moses Niagara Power Plant (now 2,525,000-kW capacity; opened 1961). Associated with the New York hydroelectric-power project is the construction in the area of new roads, bridges, and parks. In Canada the project was undertaken by the Hydro-Electric Power Commission of Ontario (now Ontario Power Generation). Water is diverted from the river above the falls and is fed into the Sir Adam Beck Generating Stations (now 1,926,000 kW; opened 1954) by way of a series of tunnels and canals.

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The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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