The Bassin de Saint-Ferréol was created as the result of a large earth dam across the mouth of the valley of Laudot stream at St. Ferréol in the Montagne Noire. It was originally proposed by Chevalier de Clerville and accepted by Pierre Paul Riquet as an integral part of the Canal du Midi. Riquet needed to provide a sufficient water reservoir to allow the locks to function year round, even in the dry summer season. The dam was begun on 15 April 1667 and was completed in four years. It was the first dam built specifically to supply water to a navigable canal and was by far the greatest single work of civil engineering undertaken during the building of the Canal du Midi.For travelers who use our online itinerary creator, Revel holidays become easier to arrange, with trips to the Lac de Saint-Ferreol and other attractions mapped out and timetabled.
The dam has a crest length of 2560ft, a maximum height of 105ft, and a base thickness of more than 450ft. Water may be drawn from the reservoir via a stone vaulted tunnel that penetrates the base of the dam. Silt can be removed from the floor of the reservoir through the tunnel. When filled to capacity, the reservoir contains some 180e6USgal of water.
Originally, the basin was to be fed by only the River Laudot. When this was deemed to be insufficient, other streams fed into what Riquet called the "rigole de la montagne". Rigole is a diversionary channel. This stream would have included contributions from the River Alzau, River Vernassone, River Lampillon, River Lampy, and River Rieutort. The stream passed through the 132yard long, 9ft diameter Cammazes Tunnel on its way to the basin. The tunnel was built by the military engineer Marshall Sebastien Vauban in 1686-87.
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