HYDRO Exploitation organised a technical training day for Swiss dam technicians in October 2019, against the impressive backdrop of the Grande Dixence Dam. 70 dam technicians from all over Switzerland took part in the training, which was held in both French and German.
A dam technician is responsible for taking measurements and visual inspections on site to verify the condition of storage structures. He represents the first level in the 4-tier monitoring programme set up for Swiss dams.
These specific training programmes relating to dam constructions, satisfy a real demand to ensure they keep abreast of changes in legislation, the transfer of know-how and exchanges of experience. Unlike engineers, dam technicians rarely get the opportunity to participate in technical training days or exchanges with their colleagues.
The participants came from all over Switzerland, especially from cantons with the greatest number of dams (Valais, Ticino and Grisons), but also from the cantons of Fribourg, Uri, Zurich, Geneva, Vaud and Obwalden. The training focused on both theory and practice. After covering some basic areas such as the legal framework, roles and jobs, visual inspections, geology, etc., they then studied some recent cases, in particular that of Whaley Bridge in England, in order to:
- explain the usefulness and importance of a dam technician’s various jobs,
- show the consequences if these jobs are not done,
- become aware of the fact that something similar could happen in Switzerland.
Within the context of its work mandates on hydroelectric constructions, HYDRO Exploitation, assures the role of the technician in 22 dam structures. The measurements and observations carried out by our colleagues on site, are then analysed and interpreted by the civil engineers.
We have been providing this type of training since 2011. Following the success of our training in 2019, we are planning an additional course in French for 2020.