Brives-Charensac Dam Removal

Upper Loire river, Haute-Loire, France, 2003

The small power station  and barrage at Brives Charensac (5 km south west of Le Puy en Velay, Upper Loire, France) situated on the Loire, just above the entry of the Gagne tributary, was demolished in 2003. At this location the river exhibited a strong tendency to meander (Divagation) as a result of which the riverbed at the tributary influx had been stabilised with 40m of concrete.

Both the dam and the stabilised riverbed were completely removed and the canal channelling water to the power station, running several hundred metres, was mostly filled in with rubble. The drain canal was left unaltered. This was a very symbolic removal because the power station construction was the basis of the electrification of the town of Le Puy and its extended surroundings in the 19th century.


  • 1886 : Construction of the barrage and power station
  • 1946 : EDF obtains the concession
  • 1995 : End of the concession period
  • 1997 : Cessation of power production
  • 2000, July : Demolition of the power station buildings
  • 2003, October : Demolition of the barrage and renaturation.

Basic Data

  • Barrage height: 2,5 to 3 metres
  • Barrage length: 10 metres
  • Effective height difference: 6,80 metres
  • Annual production: 1 GWh