Grande Dixence

The Grande Dixence, the world’s highest gravity dam, nestled at the end of the Dix Valley, breaks all records. At 285 metres, the height of the wall is unrivalled. With a total weight of 15 million tons, it is heavier than the Great Pyramid of Giza.

Each year it holds back over 400 million cubic metres of water, a capacity achieved by the use of no less than 6 million cubic metres of concrete in its construction. With exactly the same quantity of concrete, it would be possible to build a wall 1.5 metres high and 10 centimetres wide, running all the way round the equator!

At its base, the dam is 200 metres wide. At its peak, it narrows down to 15 metres. The impermeability of the foundations is ensured by the grout curtain which surrounds the dam down to a depth of 200 m. It extends 100 m into the riverbank on each side of the valley. The wall itself consists of 16 metre thick concrete blocks with special joints that ensure maximum -cohesion, resistance and impermeability.

Any movement of the Grande Dixence dam and the condition of the surrounding cliffs are constantly monitored. Watchmen regularly check the 32 kilometres of tunnels and wells inside the dam. They also monitor the exterior of the dam and the banks to immediately identify any new developments.

Construction1951 – 1961
Commissioningfrom 1961
Height285 m
Crest15 m wide, 700 m from one bank to the other
Volume of concrete5 960 000 m3
Length of visitor tunnels15 200 m
Length of injection well14 500 m
Volume of reservoir400 000 000 m3
Reservoir surface area4,04 km2
Length of reservoir5,3 km
Length of meltwater, drainage and thalweg tunnels2160 m
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