Thursday, 15 September 2011
Grande Dixence dam
Who would have thought the subject of dams could be interesting? This, the Grande Dixence, is the highest gravity dam in the world, in the south west of Switzerland at the head of the Val de Dix. It is 285 metres (935 ft) high with a triangular cross section. This apparently is what makes it a gravity dam. Other possible types of dam are arch, buttress, or embankment dams, but Grande Dixence is a gravity dam.
The dam collects the water from 35 glaciers in the area as they melt in the summer and then it's used to drive the turbines in two power stations. The power produced is enough for 400,000 households.
It's possible to do tours of of the dam itself, and of the pumping stations. There is a bar and hotel at the base of the dam where you can even arrange to be married. They seem to cater for every possible occasion.