N/A, Newell County, Alberta, T0J, Canada
Links and documents
Listed on the Canadian Register:
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.
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)
- 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.
Province of Alberta
Historical Resources Act
Provincial Historic Resource
1914/01/01 to 1979/01/01
Theme - Category and Type
- Peopling the Land
- Developing Economies
- Technology and Engineering
Function - Category and Type
- Water or Sewage Facility
Architect / Designer
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