Centrale de la Bâtiaz
Case postale 391
1920 Martigny
Tél. 027/720.20.20
Fax 027/720.22.77


Security: a Permanent Concern

Water Draining and Release: Attention to Danger for the canyoners !

The rivers downstream from the dams and the intakes are likely to carry considerable risks. Large quantities of water may suddenly pour into the riverbeds, especially in the following cases:

  • When the water is drained from the storage basins or during the cleaning of the installations (gravel trap, sand trap).

  • After a sudden stoppage of the plant. In order to avoid the overflowing of the dam or of the water in the intakes, the spillway gates open automatically. Such operations can provoke a sudden unexpected and temporary rise in the water volume. Within a few minutes, the level and the flow of the river heavily increase, and the water carries along materials piled up in the riverbed in dry periods; this represents a fatal risk to anyone staying in the riverbed. Warning signs have been displayed in the affected zones. They tell hikers, fishermen and canyoning fans not to stay in the river, since the calm and regular flow of the water may prove to be fatally misleading.

Management of the Risks Related to the Dam

Regular and thorough inspections are performed in order to ensure the timely detection of any events threatening the security of the installations (e.g. irregular performance, defect, major damage or external danger such as the risk of rockfall within the reservoir).

Special alarm systems (flood-alarm sirens) have been installed in the zone that risk to be flooded within no more than 2 hours in case of a complete, instantaneous failure of the dam. Annual tests are performed.

Natural Flood Control

The Emosson storage lake can play an important role of protection against floods occurring in the Rhone valley. Depending of the water level in the lake, the dam can absorb a great part of the rainfall and thus diminish the effect of floods downstream. While security requirements may be contrary to economic considerations, the primary concern of Electricité d’Emosson SA is to preserve human lives in case of natural disasters.

For further information,

Association Valaisanne des producteurs d'énergie électrique (AVPEE)


Canyoners, climbers and hikers in La Barberine
A watercourse downstream of a hydroelectric facility is always a potential risk. This calls for caution because, 3 times over the last 30 years, the flow of the Barberine river had such tremendous variations that could have caused the death of anyone staying in the gorge.

We therefore recommend:


In any circumstances and especially in the following situations canyoning can be fatal:

  1. On the dates of the floodgate evacuation tests as follows:
    The 20 February, 16 April, 18 June, 20 August, 23 September 15 October, and 10 December 2020
  2. When the Emosson lake is full (water level higher than 1929 m)
  3. When an operational risk is announced on this sign. 

For further information, please call (office hours): 00 41 (0)27 720 20 20

Or any other time (answering machine): 0033 (0)4 50 54 60 64 and Flyer