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The lake of Serre-Ponçon (south east France)

France has thousands of lakes, ponds and marshes.

The lake of Serre-Ponçon (in French: lac de Serre-Ponçon) is an artificial lake located in the south of the French Alps, between the two departments of Hautes-Alpes and Alpes-de-Haute Provence. It is the biggest artificial lake in Europe for its capacity (1,272 billion m3) and the second one for its surface area (28,2 km2). The waters are dammed by the barrage of Serre-Ponçon, a 123 m high earth core dam.

The lake was created to control the water flow after disastrous floods causing severe damage and loss of life in 1843 and 1856. First proposed in 1895, its construction started in 1955 and was completed by 1961. During the construction of the lake, approximately 3 million m3 of material was moved. The dam was constructed and the valley slowly became a lake, flooding some villages in the process.

The lake of Serre-Ponçon is one of the most beautiful lakes in France.

As well as water control, sixteen hydroelectric plants use the water and the lake provides irrigation to 1,500 km² of land.

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