Discover the power of water, ice and wind to move mountains.
B.C. is a beautiful province, made of many landforms including rocky coastlines, sandy beaches, forests, lakes, mountains, inland deserts, and grassy plains. For more information on B.C. go to WelcomeBC.
Landforms are always changing. Sometimes this happens slowly over millions of years, and sometimes it happens rapidly. Landforms are shaped and continuously changed by water, wind, and ice. The process is through:
Glaciers move downhill and outward under the weight of gravity. The movement is comparable to the movement of a river, but much slower. Glaciers can form on tops of mountains or in valleys. Constant thawing and refreezing causes fractures in bedrock and can deposit rocks far from their original location.
Watch this video to learn how glaciers move slowly.
Water wheels have been traced back in history to ancient Romans, to power machinery for grinding flour. The earliest turbines were invented and used in the early 19th century, and the world’s first hydroelectric power project was in England in 1878. They began to be used in North America in the 1880s. Currently more than 90% of B.C.’s electricity is generated with water. Dams are built across a river, creating large reservoirs or potential energy. As the water flows down through the dam and down pipes known as penstocks, its kinetic energy is used to turn a turbine. The generator converts the turbine's mechanical energy into electricity. This electric energy then goes through various transmission processes before it reaches our homes and business. This electricity is both clean and renewable.
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Water and electricity are closely connected here in B.C. We know that with climate change, water levels can vary, including having too much water at times, such as during the floods in Fall 2021, and having longer droughts, such as in Fall 2022. Thus, water conservation is getting more and more important. Some dams, such as the Coquitlam watershed dam, are used both for potable water and to divert water to Buntzen lake for generating electricity, so conserving water also means that we have enough water to make electricity.
Water and energy conservation tips: