The Hongrin dam is built at the beginning of the seventies and is the 6th highest dam in French-speaking or Western Switzerland with a maximum height of 123 meters. It is easily recognizable with its characteristic double vault, unique in the world. It is the only large dam of French-speaking Switzerland located in the canton of Vaud.
- 📍 Location: Château d’Oex VS
- ⚙️ Initial operation: 1971
- 🔍 Type: Arch
- ⛰️ Summit Altitude: 1255m
- 🦅 Heigth: 123/95m
- 🐘 Thickness (top-bottom): 22m – 3m
- 🐍 Length: 325/272m
- 🌊 Reservoir name: Lake Hongrin
- 🍔 Volume: 52 Millions m³
- ⚪️ Area: 1.6 Km²
- 🏞️ River: Hongrin
- 🏃 Lake tour: 22.5 km / 5h30
Access to the dam
In summer, the dam is accessible by a small road running along the reservoir from La Lécherette near the Col des Mosses, which allows you to reach the crowning of the dam and enjoy a magnificent and bucolic view of the surrounding mountains and pastures.
One can see the unusual and elegant shape of the double-arched dam resting on a central rocky “islet” as well as a spillway unique in French-speaking Switzerland in the shape of a tulip. Pic-Nic places are available near the dam for grilling. An idea with small children is to leave your car at the Lécherette and come to the dam by bike.
From the Hongrin dam, you can enjoy a beautiful view of the surrounding mountains.
View towards West. In the background on the left, the two rocky peaks located in the garden of “La Rambertia” near the Rochers de Naye.
The Hongrin dam is fed by water from the Hongrin and Petit-Hongrin rivers at an altitude of 1255 m. After a drop of more than 800 meters from the dam in a 9 km long penstock, the water is turbined by Pelton turbines in the underground plant of Veytaux next to the Chillon Castle at the level of Lake Geneva.
In 2016, a new pumped storage power station is built next to the existing one, increasing the maximum capacity of the hydroelectric complex to 420 MW. The new pumps enable the water to be pumped from Lake Geneva into Lake Hongrin at low electricity consumption times and thus take advantage of the low prices. The water is then turbined at times of peak consumption and therefore high resale prices. The largest pumped storage power station is located in the Nant de Drance in the Emosson dam hydroelectric complex in Valais.
The entrance to the Veytaux plant next to Chillon Castle.
The water collected in the Hongrin dam flows naturally into the Rhine catchment area and the North Sea, while the water turbined and discharged into Lake Geneva flows into the Rhone catchment area and the Mediterranean Sea.
Catchment areas in Switzerland: (Source Wikimedia Commons)
- The Rhône (Blue), Po (Yellow) and Adige (Green) basins flow into the Mediterranean Sea.
- The Rhine (Dark Orange) and Aare (Light Orange) basins flow into the North Sea.
- The Danube (Purple) basin flows into the Black Sea.
A drone video of the Hongrin Dam.
A video of the construction of the Hongrin Dam hydroelectric station.