Niagara Power Station Intake, New York
These towers hold the equipment that adjusts how much water flows over Niagara Falls. Beneath the towers are the valves that open and close the intake pipes which divert water from this point, a few miles upstream of the falls, through massive underground pipelines to the New York Power Authority's hydroelectric project, 4.5 miles downstream. While it is rarely done, the infrastructure exists to virtually turn off the flow over the falls. A 1950 treaty with Canada (located on the other side of the falls) requires that at least half the normal flow over the falls is maintained, at least during the daytime of the tourist season, but at night and during the winter months, the flow may be reduced to a quarter. For over a century, Niagara Falls has been the focus of grand ideas about power production and industrial utopias. This electrical generation system, comprised of the intake pipes, two turbine stations, and a massive forebay and water storage reservoir downstream, was the largest hydropower facility in the country when it went on line in 1961. It was a project of New York's master builder, Robert Moses, who was head of the New York Power Authority. The forebay bears his name.