The 30 plants and 17 dams on the Durance and Verdon rivers make up one of the largest sources of hydraulic energy in France:

  • 2.3 billion m3 of water contained
  • 20 plants remotely-controlled from the hydroelectric control centre in Sainte-Tulle
  • 2,000 MW available in under 10 minutes, equivalent to the power of 2 nuclear reactors
  • Annual production of electricity equivalent to the use by 2.5 million people (6 billion KWh, 10% of French hydroelectric production)

EDF dam and plant in Serre-Ponçon: the largest artificial water reservoir in mainland France (1.2 billion m3 of water)!

History can explain the strong territorial grounding of the hydraulic sector in the Alpes de Haute Provence. Since 1955, Serre-Ponçon is the « head reservoir » of the Durance Verdon chain. The site is the starting point of this important energy "source".

The dam thus feeds the EDF Durance canal enabling the water to be used in line in all the hydroelectric plants installed along the 250 km it covers.

Lavender flowers close up

An asset: multipurpose water management

Apart from the production of electric energy, the developments of the Durance and Verdon rivers provide several assets for the territory:

  • A drinking water supply for around 150 municipalities representing 3 million homes
  • The irrigation of around 120,000 hectares of farming land
  • A supply of industrial water for nearly 440 firms
  • The development of tourist activities near the dams
  • The development of Serre-Ponçon, the water-tower of Provence, is a reference site where multipurpose water management is concerned

Major economic stakes

Developments on the Durance and the Verdon irrigate the territory economically. The presence of the installations induces considerable direct and indirect economic spinoff for the territory.

For example, they make it possible to develop tourism and farming via the management of the dams and water sharing. They create strong dynamics for the territory.

The economic benefits induced by their presence are estimated at around 1.5 billion Euros per year.

The sector's players: