Tees Barrage White Water Course Upgrade


The existing white water course was originally opened in 1994, at the time creating exciting and pioneering white water conditions for its users. Since 1994, slalom canoeing, white water specifications and the technical requirements of courses have advanced considerably, and other disciplines such as freestyle kayaking and white water rafting have increased dramatically in popularity too. All of these factors contributed to the case for an upgrade to the site on the north bank of the River Tees in order to maintain and expand the course’s appeal, by providing the increased depth and variation in water features required.

The scope of the new project was to upgrade the site to create a modern and sustainable course providing world class competitive training, and events for paddle sport. In addition, the upgrade would ensure that revenue-generating activities could be undertaken without restriction at the same time as recreation and competitive paddle sport, thus alleviating the reliance upon tidal cycles.

The inclusion of the screws also serves two purposes:

  • They transfer water from white water course’s lower pool up to the upper pool during high tide, creating guaranteed conditions for canoeists and rafters regardless of the tide.
  • And when not pumping water around the course, the screws facilitate electricity generation during low tides using the differential head created by the tidal system and the Tees Barrage to generate electricity for the National Grid. This means Tees is the UK’s first fully-sustainable white water course.

Working with ABB, existing technology was used in a new and alternative manor generating electricity without the need for standard AC Generating equipment and G59 monitoring systems.


    Design Services to include –
  • Conveyor to allow transfer of canoeists from the lower pool to the upper pool without the need to exit their boats (allowing continual use of the facility).
  • Fully automated control system to operate the facility in both generating and pumping mode.
  • Integration of the transformer to allow generated power to feed back into the National Grid.
  • Bear stop design for the short and long course.
  • Penstock design to the pump station housing to allow effective use of the Archimedean screws.



Client: Carillion
Location: Stockton on Tees, UK
Overview: Provide Detailed Design of Mechanical, Electrical, Control and Automation of the Academies Screws (hydro turbines)
Value: £63,000.00