Le Rhin, le Grand Canal d’Alsace, le Haut Rhin, le canal de Colmar Le canal de Huningue, le canal du Rhône au Rhin branche nord
The Rhine has its source in the Swiss Alps on the flanks of the Saint Gothard mountain range. It then crosses Switzerland, Austria and Germany before watering the low pains of Holland.
During the course of its journey of more than 1,3000 km, it receives the waters of a fluvial basin of about 200,000 km2. The secondary basins of the Meuse and the Escaut are also part of the principal Rhine basin. From the source to the sea, the river is divided into seven big sections: the Alpine Rhine, the lake of Constance, the High Rhine, the Upper Rhine, the Middle Rhine, the lower Rhine and the Rhine delta.
In this guide we are going to follow the navigable section of the Upper Rhine as well as the Grand Canal d’Alsace, an artificial waterway which replaces, for navigation purposes, the loops and shallows of the old river between Basel and Strasbourg.
21 x 29,7 cm - 112 pages / ISBN 2-913120-55-5 / Last updated 2018
The Grand Canal d’Alsace.
After the First World War, the Treaty of Versailles of 28 June 1919, established new priorities the Rhine. The steep slope and the strong and regular current between Basel and Strasbourg offered a good opportunity for the production of hydroelectric power. 9 July 1919, the Alsatian engineer René Koechlin and the “Société des Forces Motrices du Haut-Rhin” laid down a plan for a canal lateral later to be called the Grand Canal d’Alsace. The aim was to ensure better protection against floods, to improve navigation conditions and produce energy to accompany the new industrial development of the region.
Grand Canal d’Alsace, chantier d’Ottmarsheim.
In the first instance, barrages were built at Kembs, Ottmarsheim, Fessenheim and Vogelgrun, each one equipped with a power station and two locks.
Below Breisach-am-Rhein, the river itself was canalised. A derivation canal gave access to each of the locks of Marckolsheim, Rhinau, Gerstheim and Strasbourg. The last two of these structures, the locks and the power stations of Gambsheim and Iffezheim, were established in the bed of the river.
Thanks to better flood management, several nuclear power stations (Leibstadt, Fessenheim, Philippsburg, Biblis and Mülheim-Karlich) were built on the banks of the river and used its water for their cooling circuits. As a result of these works, the power stations produce enough energy for a whole region of Europe and the biggest Rhine barges can now reach the port of Basel.
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