How the lake was created
The Lac du Salagou is an artificial lake filled in 1968 once the 60m long dam was built, 357m high holding back 103 million square feet of water. It spreads out over Clermont l’Hérault, Liausson, Salasc, Octon and Celles. With a perimeter of 28km, it measures 6.5km long between Octon and the dam, with an average depth of 15m – the deepest part being 50m. This vast area of water offers an extraordinary palette of colours: the brick red of the “ruffes” (clay sediments loaded with iron oxide) compete with the black volcanic basalt rock, blending perfectly with the blue sky and waters.
Consequences of the dam
The waters cover ground (garrigue, fields, vineyards…); bridges, lanes, roads, a house close to Celles and five farms spread out over the communes of Clermont l’Hérault and Celles:
A part of the main road N9 is underwater: it runs along 3km from the pier near Clermont l’Hérault campsite to Lodève beach. When the lake was first created, several farming families from Celles, Vailhès and Pradines had to be expropriated. The initial project had involved flooding all three of these areas, but in the end not one of them was submerged. The hamlet of Pradines was the only one out of the three to be demolished for security reasons in 1986.