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BROOKS AQUEDUCT

N/A, Newell County, Alberta, T0J, Canada

Formally Recognized: 2000/07/20

Brooks Aqueduct Provincial Historic Resource (July 1999); Alberta Culture and Community Spirit, Historic Resources Management Branch, 1999
Interpretive centre in foreground
Brooks Aqueduct Provincial Historic Resource (September 1979); Alberta Culture and Community Spirit, Historic Resources Management Branch, 1979
View facing Brooks Aqueduct
No Image

Other Name(s)

n/a

Links and documents

Construction Date(s)

1912/01/01

Listed on the Canadian Register: 2005/04/22

Statement of Significance

Description of Historic Place

The Brooks Aqueduct site contains the remains of a 3.2 kilometre-long reinforced concrete flume designed to carry water east from Lake Newell. It was built between 1912 and 1914 northeast of the lake and just east of the town of Brooks. The designation applies to an area of 19.11 hectares, including the flume and an unusual siphon system designed to take water under the Canadian Pacific Railway line. The Brooks Aqueduct is operated by Alberta Culture and Community Spirit as an interpreted Provincial Historic Site.

Heritage Value

The Brooks Aqueduct is a significant structural representation of the development of irrigation in Alberta, and of the role Canadian Pacific Railway (CPR) played in settling the region. It is a remarkable artifact of Canadian engineering. This is also one of the largest aqueducts of its kind in the world.

The Brooks Aqueduct was an integral part of a larger irrigation system designed to bring water to over 50,000 hectares of land that otherwise was susceptible to drought. The system - which included the Bassano Dam, Lake Newell and hundreds of kilometres of smaller canals - allowed the CPR to open the area to agricultural settlement. The Brooks Aqueduct supplied water to area farmers from 1914 to 1979.

The Brooks Aqueduct played a prominent role in the CPR's efforts to settle Western Canada. The CPR had the capital, equipment, labour force, and engineers to attempt such a large-scale project and the motivation to promote colonization of the land it owned between Brooks and Calgary. The Brooks Aqueduct is also connected to the development of local farm organizations such as the Eastern Irrigation District, which owned and operated the Aqueduct after 1935.

The Brooks Aqueduct is also a nationally significant civil engineering achievement because of its design, materials, and sheer size. Its length, low slope, volume of water, and the need to siphon the water under the CPR line presented unusual design difficulties. The open flume was shaped to minimize resistance to the water flow. Construction involved 25,000 cubic yards of concrete, two thousand tons of steel, and Portland cement at a time when the use of reinforced concrete was still in its infancy.

The scale of the Brooks Aqueduct in both height and length makes it a prominent landmark in the area.

Source: Alberta Culture and Community Spirit, Historic Resources Management Branch (File: Des. 513)

Character-Defining Elements

- the form, scale, design, and massing of the aqueduct and siphon;
- reinforced concrete hanging flume shaped to the hydrostatic catenary (the shape the water would assume in a flume running full if a flexible material were used for the barrel);
- concrete trestle from which the flume is suspended;
- inverted siphon of reinforced concrete, designed on the Venturi principle with tapered ends at inlet and outlet;
- unimpeded view planes surrounding the structure;
- location adjacent the new canal which replaced the aqueduct.

Recognition

Jurisdiction

Alberta

Recognition Authority

Province of Alberta

Recognition Statute

Historical Resources Act

Recognition Type

Provincial Historic Resource

Recognition Date

2000/07/20

Historical Information

Significant Date(s)

1914/01/01 to 1979/01/01

Theme - Category and Type

Peopling the Land
Settlement
Developing Economies
Technology and Engineering

Function - Category and Type

Current

Leisure
Museum

Historic

Industry
Water or Sewage Facility

Architect / Designer

n/a

Builder

n/a

Additional Information

Location of Supporting Documentation

Alberta Culture and Community Spirit, Historic Resources Management Branch, Old St. Stephen's College, 8820 - 112 Street, Edmonton, AB T6G 2P8 (Des. 513)

Cross-Reference to Collection

Fed/Prov/Terr Identifier

4665-0425

Status

Published

Related Places

n/a

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