75th anniversary of the Swiss Dams Committee

This retrospective was conceived as part of the 75th anniversary of the Swiss Committee on Dams (SCD). It retraces the history of dams in Switzerland through five specific themes: the players, the flagship dams, the socio-political dimensions, the technical dimensions and the impact of Swiss dam engineering abroad

This timeline was drawn up by the members of the SCD "Public Relations" working group, headed by Jean-Claude Kolly.

1835-01-01 00:00:00

Guillaume Ritter

Hydraulic engineer.

1858-08-01 00:00:00

Hans Schardt

Hans Schardt was born in Basel in 1858 and died in Zurich in 1931.

1869-01-01 00:00:00

First concrete dam in Europe

Built between 1870 and 1872, the Maigrauge dam on the Sarine near Fribourg was the first concrete dam in Europe, at a time when the use of concrete was still a novelty. It was designed by Guillaume Ritter (1835-1912), the initiator and designer of the dam.

1873-08-01 00:00:00

Heinrich Eduard Gruner

Heinrich E. Gruner was born in Basel in 1873 and died there in 1947.

1876-08-01 00:00:00

Federal Waters Police Act

The Confederation first legislated about dams in Article 3bis of the Federal Waters Police Act, which reads as follows:

1881-08-01 00:00:00

Arnold Kaech

Arnold Kaech was born in Ettiswil (Canton Lucerne) in 1881 and died in Lucerne in 1965.

1883-08-01 00:00:00

Eugen Meyer-Peter

Eugen Meyer-Peter was born on 25 February 1883 in Herisau and died on 18 June 1969 in Zurich.

1892-08-01 00:00:00

Alfred Stucky

Professor Doctor honoris causa.

1894-08-01 00:00:00

Rheinfelden dam

The old hydropower station was built between 1895 and 1898 as a canal power station.

1895-08-01 00:00:00

Alexandre Sarrasin

Professor at EPUL.

1896-08-01 00:00:00

Henri Juillard

1897-08-01 00:00:00

Henri Gicot

Henri Gicot was born in Le Landeron (NE) in 1897 and died in Fribourg in 1982.

1898-08-01 00:00:00

Gübsensee dam

In 1895, the engineer Louis Kürsteiner proposed the construction of a reservoir southwest of St. Gallen.

1900-08-01 00:00:00

Gerold Schnitter

Gerold Schnitter was born on 25 October 1900 in Basel and died on 22 July 1987 in Küsnacht ZH. He was Professor of hydraulics at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich (ETH Zurich) from 1952 to 1970, and for hydraulic engineering and geotechnics from 1960 on. From 1953 to 1970, he was Director of the Laboratory of hydraulics and geotechnics at ETH Zurich.

1905-08-01 00:00:00

Switzerland's first major embankment dam

The Rhodannenberg dam was built at Klöntal in the canton of Glarus between 1905 and 1908.

1911-08-01 00:00:00

Lago Bianco dam

The Lago Bianco reservoir lies at 2,200 metres above sea level on the Bernina Pass, the watershed between the Black Sea and the Mediterranean.

1915-04-14 00:00:00

Olivier Rambert

Chairman of SCD from 1973 to 1979.

1915-08-01 00:00:00

Eglisau dam

The Eglisau-Glattfelden hydropower station is located on the Rhine on the German-Swiss border.

1917-08-01 00:00:00

Jean-Pierre Stucky

Jean-Pierre Stucky is the son of Alfred Stucky.

1918-08-01 00:00:00

Montsalvens dam

The Montsalvens dam is located in the canton of Fribourg, in the Gruyère region.

1922-08-01 00:00:00

Schräh dam

With a height of 112 m, a crest length of 156 m and a concrete volume of 236,000 m3, the Schräh gravity dam was once the highest dam in the world.

1924-08-01 00:00:00

Chancy-Pougny dam

The Chancy-Pougny dam, commissioned just 100 years ago in 1924, is located in the far west of Switzerland, on the Rhône.

1925-08-01 00:00:00

Marécottes compensation basin

The Marécottes compensation basin is owned by the Swiss Federal Railways (CFF).

1925-08-01 00:00:00

Bernhard Gilg

Dr. sc. techn. engineer, ETH Zurich. He worked at Elektrowatt before becoming its managing director.

1926-08-01 00:00:00

Giovanni Lombardi

Giovanni Lombardi was born on 28 May 1926 in Lugano and died on 22 May 2017 in Monte Carlo.

1928-08-01 00:00:00

Foundation of the Swiss Commission for Dams

On 2 October 1928, the Basel engineer Heinrich Gruner (1873-1947), who was already renowned for his work on the Laufenburg hydroelectric station and later on the Montsalvens dam project, brought together for the first time five leading figures in the field of engineering to found the Swiss Commission for Dams, the forerunner of the Swiss National Committee for Large Dams (CNSGB) and later the Swiss Committee for Dams (SCD).

1928-08-01 00:00:00

Spitallamm dam

The Spitallamm dam is a circular arch-gravity dam built between 1928 and 1932 using rammed concrete.

1932-08-01 00:00:00

First Julliard-type pendulum installed at the Spitallamm dam

Two pendulums were installed for the first time in a dam during the construction of the Spitallamm dam in 1932: the first measured deformations between 1824 m asl and 1869 m asl, and the second between 1864 and 1902 m asl

1942-01-01 00:00:00

Lucendro dam

The economic crisis of the 1930s led to a decline in the use of hydropower in Switzerland. The first buttress dams were built to save materials, particularly cement.

1946-01-01 00:00:00

Measurements Observations and Trials on Switzerland's large dams, 1919-1945

In 1946, the Swiss Committee on Dams published a report presenting and summarizing experiences learned with the monitoring of the large dams in country.

1948-12-20 00:00:00

Foundation of the CNSGB

The CNSGB was founded by Henri Gicot on 20 December 1948.

1949-08-01 00:00:00

Oberaar dam

The Oberaar dam has a maximum height of 104 m and was designed as a gravity dam with recesses at the joints (Juillard type).

1950-01-01 00:00:00

Palagnedra dam

The 72 m-high dam and compensation basin at Palagnedra are part of the "Maggia I" scheme, built in the early 1950s.

1950-08-01 00:00:00

Grande Dixence dam

The Grande Dixence dam was built between 1950 and 1961 on the Dixence river in the Val des Dix.

1950-08-01 00:00:00

Châtelot dam

The Châtelot dam is a bi-national French-Swiss retaining structure on the Doubs, located just downstream of the Doubs waterfall,, 7 km as the crow flies from the town of La Chaux-de-Fonds in a westerly direction.

1951-01-01 00:00:00

Mauvoisin dam

The Mauvoisin concrete arch dam on the Drance river was built between 1951 and 1958 in the canton of Valais, in southern Switzerland.

1952-08-01 00:00:00

Salanfe dam

The Salanfe gravity dam, built in the early 1950s, is 52 m high and 600 m long.

1952-08-01 00:00:00

Vieux-Emosson dam

The Vieux Emosson dam was built between 1952 and 1956.

1953-08-01 00:00:00

Zervreila dam

The Zervreila arch dam is 150 m high and was built between 1953 and 1957.

1954-08-01 00:00:00

Moiry dam

The Moiry arch dam has created a reservoir with a capacity of 77 million m3 at an altitude of 2249 m a.s.l.

1955-08-01 00:00:00

Göscheneralp dam

The Göscheneralp rockfill dam was built between 1955 and 1962.

1956-08-01 00:00:00

Valle di Lei dam

The Valle di Lei arch dam is located in a very open valley, is practically symmetrical and has parabolic vaults of quasi equal thickness at each level.

1957-08-01 00:00:00

Implementing regulation for article 3bis of the Law on Water Policy

Entry into force of the "Implementing Regulation for Article 3bis of the Water Police Act". Amongst others, monitoring of dam behaviour is required.

1957-08-01 00:00:00

Albigna dam

The Albigna dam has a maximum height of 115 m and is designed as a gravity dam with cavities (Juillard type).

1958-08-01 00:00:00

Les Toules dam

The Toules dam was one of the first dome dam built in Switzerland. This slender arch dam, 86 m high and 450 m long at the crown, was designed by H. Gicot.

1960-08-01 00:00:00

Contra dam

The Contra dam was built in the early 1960s, impounding the rushing Verzasca river in its lower reaches and creating a reservoir with a usable storage volume of 85 million m3.

1960-08-01 00:00:00

Schiffenen dam

Located 7 km downstream of Fribourg, the Schiffenen dam is the last link in a chain of retaining structures built by Groupe E (formerly EEF) on the Sarine river.

1960-08-01 00:00:00

Mattmark dam

The 117 m high Mattmark dam is an earth and rockfill dam with an inclined core.

1963-01-01 00:00:00

Luzzone dam

The Luzzone dam is a major structure belonging to Officine idroelettriche di Blenio SA (Ofible).

1963-08-01 00:00:00

Gries dam

Gries dam, with its crest at 2387.5 m asl, is one of the dams with the largest electricity coefficient (specific energy value) in Switzerland, as its water is used in Ofima's facilities down to Lago Maggioreat a gross head of almost 2,200 m south of the Alps.

75th anniversary of the Swiss Dams Committee

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