Upstream of the falls, the Chaudière river watershed extends over 6,605 km2, which is larger than Prince Edward Island (5,657 km2). It brings together numerous rivers, lakes and streams that run alongside more than one municipality located between the United-States border and the St. Lawrence River.
The Chaudière River's source is Lac Mégantic. 185 kilometers long, it crosses the Beauce and Chaudière-Appalaches regions before pouring into the St. Lawrence River. Every season, the river is characterized by a variation of its flows. It is well known for its sudden and strong floods, which occur both in summer and spring, and for its very marked periodic drops, especially in summer.
The dam was partly rebuilt on the foundations of its old structure. It retains water to supply the hydropower plant's water intake. The dam is a structure located from one side of the river to the other.
It is built to withstand earthquakes as well as the pressure of water and ice. The two curvatures on the opposite direction of the dam produce a horizontal water jet at its foot. Since water can flow freely over the entire length of the dam, the structure does not have any spillways.
The information gathered by the hydroelectric power station sensors and the water intake is sent to the computerized systems located in the control room. From there, the computers are programmed to ensure the management of the flows of the falls as well as the efficiency management of the electricity production.
The plant produces the electricity it needs for its own operations. In this sense, it is self-sufficient.
Did you know that ?
THE AVERAGE FLOW
The average flow of the river is 130 cubic meters per second (m3 / s) but it can reach 1240 m3 / s during the flooding season and drop as low as 11 m3 / s in summer.
Its name «Chaudière»
It originates from the spray at the bottom of the falls, which looks like steam escaping from a boiler full of boiling water.
Once called Rivière du Sault de la Chaudière, it owes its name to the falls from its height, which is about 35 meters.
Remains of First Nations camps were discovered during archaeological excavations on the site. They bear witness to the passage of nomadic groups roughly 8,000 years ago.
The site has been exploited since 1901 for its hydroelectric potential.
An exceptional flood having destroyed the original installations in 1970, the dam and a new power station were built in 1998.
It generates a maximum electrical power of 24,000 KW, which can supply around 5,000 families.