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Pictures from Eau d'Heure Lakes in Belgium: the Plate Taille Dam, the lakes, and recreational activities.

Eau d'Heure Lakes: the Plate Taille Dam
Plate Taille Dam with its panoramic tower and the lakes of Eau d'Heure in Wallonia (Belgium).

The Eau d'Heure Lakes are actually a set of 5 lakes created by the Plate Taille Dam on the course of the Eau d'Heure River. They form the largest artificial lake in Belgium. These lakes are located in the Entre-Sambre-et-Meuse straddling the provinces of Namur and Hainaut. The Visitor Center is located at 6440 Boussu-Lez-Walcourt on the edge of the dam and Plate Taille Lake. It can be reached by car via the N589, and usually the N40. The nearest railway station is Walcourt, but there is no public transport between the station and the Visitor Center.

The area includes the 365 ha-large and 50 m-deep Plate Taille Lake, the 165 ha-large and 17 m-deep Eau d'Heure Lake, the 41 ha Falemprise Lake, the 21 ha. Feronval Lake, and the 32 ha. Ri Jaune Lake. It includes three pre-dams, the most important of which is located at Feronval, and the main dam, that of the Plate Taille lake, which is the largest dam in Belgium.

The Plate Taille Dam has a length of 790 m and a height of 70 m of which 20 m in foundation and 50 m above ground. This dam and, to a lesser extent, Feronval Dam produce electricity on demand. The hydropower plant of the Plate Taille is composed of 4 turbines which have a flow of 90 m³ per second and per turbine. One hour of operation of a turbine brings down the level of Plate Taille Lake by 10 cm. As the concrete of the dam is only 80% watertight, wells placed all along the lower gallery serve to evacuate water. Drains permanently also drain the subsoil to absorb water that would threaten the dam's stability.

The water flow between Plate Taille Lake and Eau d'Heure Lake runs in both directions: from one to the other, it produces electricity; in the other direction, it consumes electricity to restore the level of the lake of the Plate Taille in case of need: this lake is indeed not fed by rivers, excepted a small insignificant stream.

Eau d'Heure Lakes (panorama)
Panoramic (partial) view of the Eau d'Heure Lakes from the top of the Plate Taille Tower, Wallonia (Belgium).

The Eau d'Heure Lakes area covers 1800 hectares, 1/3 of which are water bodies, 1/3 of forests and 1/3 of meadows. It is an important tourist destination: sets of holiday residences, an aquacenter (pool-spa-squash-tennis), a nautical club - sailing school and a diving center have settled on the shores of Plate Taille Lake. A jet ski club (near the Feronval Dam) and another water ski club are open on the Eau d'Heure Lake. Falemprise and Feronval Lakes also offer various recreational activities (playground, mini golf, beach, swimming, and more for the first, water skiing, wakeboarding, and more for the second).

The Information Center as well as the starting point of the "Red Crocodile", an amphibious bus that offers hour-long tours on the lake, are located at the Plate Taille. There you can also join the guided tours of the dam, its lower gallery and its panoramic tower. Guided tours take place in French and Dutch only.

Besides the seaside and nautical activities, the lakes offer beautiful opportunities of walks and bike rides: 10 marked out paths of a total of about 100 km, of which two "ravels", one around the Plate Taille Lake and the other around the Eau d'Heure Lake.

Eau d'Heure Lakes: sailboats
Sailboats on Plate Taille Lake (part of Eau d'Heure Lakes) in Wallonia, Belgium.

Jet ski on the Eau d'Heure Lake
Jet ski on the Eau d'Heure Lake near the Feronval Dam in Wallonia, Belgium. 

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Pictures from Eau d'Heure Lakes in Belgium: the Plate Taille Dam, the lakes, and recreational activities.