Esch-sur-Sûre Dam

Esch-sur-Sûre Dam

Downstream face of the dam
Location of Esch-sur-Sûre Dam in Luxembourg
Country Luxembourg
Location Esch-sur-Sûre, Wiltz
Coordinates 49°54′42.44″N 5°55′22.20″E / 49.9117889°N 5.9228333°E / 49.9117889; 5.9228333Coordinates: 49°54′42.44″N 5°55′22.20″E / 49.9117889°N 5.9228333°E / 49.9117889; 5.9228333
Purpose Power
Status Operational
Construction began 1956
Opening date 1957 (1957)
Owner(s) Administration of Roads and Bridges/Syndicat des Eaux du Barrage d'Esch-sur-Sûre (SEBES)
Dam and spillways
Type of dam Arch
Impounds River Sauer
Height 50 m (160 ft)
Length 170 m (560 ft)
Width (crest) 1.5 m (4.9 ft)
Width (base) 4.5 m (15 ft)
Creates Upper Sûre Lake
Total capacity 59,000,000 m3 (48,000 acre·ft)
Catchment area 428 km2 (165 sq mi)
Surface area 3.5 km2 (1.4 sq mi)
Max. length 19 km (12 mi)
Max. water depth 43 m (141 ft)
Normal elevation 322 m (1,056 ft)
Power station
Operator(s) Société Electrique de l'Our
Commission date 1963
Turbines 2 x 5.5 MW Francis-type
Installed capacity 11 MW
Annual generation 16 GWh

The Esch-sur-Sûre Dam is an arch dam on the River Sauer just upstream of Esch-sur-Sûre in the Wiltz canton of Luxembourg. The primary purpose of the dam and its reservoir, Upper Sûre Lake, is to provide municipal water supply and hydroelectric power generation. The dam is operated jointly by the Administration of Roads and Bridges and the Syndicate des Eaux du Barrage d'Esch-sur-Sûre (SEBES) while the power station is operated by Société Electrique de l'Our (SEO).


It was first conceived in the 1950s to help replace nature groundwater resources for the town of Esch-sur-Sûre. Using an André Coyne design, the dam was constructed between 1956 and 1957 and the power station was commissioned in 1963.[1] The reservoir has been drained twice during the dam's life; once in 1969 to install a new fixed water intake and again in 1991 to install and adjustable-arm intake which mitigate issues with algae growth in the reservoir.[2]


The Esch-sur-Sûre is an arch dam with a height of 50 m (160 ft) and length of 170 m (560 ft). It is 1.5 m (4.9 ft) wide at its crest and 4.5 m (15 ft) wide at its base. The dam sits at the head of a 428 km2 (165 sq mi) catchment area and creates the Upper Sûre Lake which has a total volume of 59,000,000 m3 (48,000 acre·ft). The lake has a surface area of 3.5 km2 (1.4 sq mi) and is 19 km (12 mi) long. It is 43 m (141 ft) at it deepest point and the normal elevation is 322 m (1,056 ft).[3]

Power station

The power station at the base of the dam contains two 5.5 MW Francis turbine-generators for a total installed capacity of 11 MW. The power station generates an average of 16 GWh annually. Downstream of the dam there are three weirs fitted with Kaplan turbines with a total installed capacity of 550 kW.[4]

Spillway plans

The dam also provides for flood control but has no spillway. Currently, two bottom outlets with a 450 m3/s (16,000 cu ft/s) discharge capacity pass floods through the reservoir. Floods in the 1990s highlighted the need for a spillway at the dam. A design for a chute spillway on the left abutment of the dam have been drafted but not implemented.[3]

See also


  1. "Dam of Esch-sur-Sure" (in French). Structurae. Retrieved 25 March 2014.
  2. "Dam Esch-sur-Sure" (in French). Administration of Roads and Bridges. Retrieved 25 March 2014.
  3. 1 2 Lazaro, Philippe (October 2007). "New Spillway at the Esch-sur-Sûre Dam in Luxembourg" (PDF). Wasserbau. Retrieved 25 March 2014.
  4. "Esch-Sauer" (in German). Société Electrique de l'Our. Retrieved 25 March 2014.
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