Water Resources

Population growth, climate change, industrial development and aging assets have put pressure on conventional infrastructure. WSP’s water resources engineers develop the plans and designs that provide resilience to our communities, and safeguard our natural resources from our collective footprints to ensure a sustainable future.

Dams and Retaining Structures

Built across rivers, dams help control river flow, provide water to nearby communities, and regulate flooding but also produce hydroelectric power, the most widely used form of renewable energy. Dams are intricate and resilient structural barriers that require thorough planning, design and maintenance. Our clear and nuanced understanding of retaining structures results from 25 years of experience, allowing our team of experts to support the unique needs of each client. 

Dams are substantial engineering projects that require vast financial resources and a sound engineering plan. Our seasoned team consists of leading industry professionals who are up to date with the latest tools, technology and industry standards in design, analysis and safety concerning water retaining structures. From project start to finish, our specialists are able to provide the expert solution that best suits our clients’ needs.

The expertise of our engineers and technicians include:

  • Hydraulic/hydrological engineering
  • Hydraulic structures
  • Mechanical engineering
  • Dams and locks auxiliary and heavy mechanical engineering
  • Electrical engineering


Runoff management (drainage, stormwater management, urban systems)

Human activity impacts the earth’s water cycle by introducing contaminants and interrupting the natural flow of water across and into the landscape. Various methods are used to mitigate these impacts, and at the same time protect the built environment from the power of natural systems. WSP’s water resources experts plan, design, and construct the full range of runoff management solutions needed to support our communities and infrastructure, and to protect the environment from our collective footprint. In urban centers, WSP specializes in the analysis of increasingly complex and sometimes aged drainage networks to understand the sources of problems, and to recommend the improvements needed to align with evolving criteria and a changing climate. WSP’s runoff management teams have supported several notable projects including the Highway 427 extension and the redevelopment of Toronto’s Waterfront.


Hydraulic and Hydrological Modelling

WSP provides a wide range of hydraulic and hydrological modelling solutions for watercourses, water supply, storm water and wastewater systems to allow improved understanding and management of water resources, asset performance; the evaluation, planning and budgeting for new construction and maintenance, and resilience, security and preparedness for operational emergencies.

Hydraulic and hydrological modelling are essential tools for investigating how networks operate, for planning and designing improvements to drainage systems and for predicting water cycle processes. Well-constructed and calibrated hydraulic and hydrological models can clearly demonstrate the consequences of fluctuating and increased water levels, the impact of climate change and quality of water resources, above and below land surfaces, and on infrastructure by forecasting flows, deficiencies and risks, and lay bare the effectiveness of proposed solutions. Both hydraulic and hydrological analyses create opportunities for improved operational performance and cost savings.


Water Resources Innovation

The evolution of water resources engineering has taken on a new urgency in light of our changing climate and increasingly variable precipitation patterns, also reflected in the advanced rigor of the regulatory environment. WSP’s water resources experts are exploring the role of innovation as a means to counter these trends. This includes an ongoing exploration of the ranges of variability that should be considered in the design of all climate dependent community and infrastructure features, as well as advancing the green infrastructure and low impact development strategies that are needed to meaningfully decentralize runoff management, increase resiliency, and better safeguard the natural environment.


Experience and expertise

Experience has taught us to always embrace unique challenges that accompany a project lifecycle no matter where the project is located. As partners and consultants of dam owners, operators and regulators, we are also involved in many relevant professional organizations at home and abroad.

Our key services include:

  • Design studies; 1D, 2D and 3D modelling of discharge on dams and spillways; design and assessment of tailing dams;
  • Dam safety assessments/reviews; environmental assessment and permitting; specialized studies; 
  • Public safety regarding dams; detailed inspections and investigations if water retaining structures; detailed engineering for new structures of rehabilitation works; dam decommissioning and land reclamation projects; and
  • Management and preparation of tender packages for the rehabilitation or construction of new structures; project management (EPCM); services during construction; preparation of operations, maintenance and surveillance manuals (OMS); emergency action plans (EAP).