Vidraru Dam was completed in 1966 on the Argeș River and creates Lake Vidraru. The arch dam was built with the primary purpose to produce hydroelectricity. The dam’s height is 166 metres, the arch length 305 meters and it can store 465 million cubic metres of water. The reservoir has a total shoreline (perimeter) length of 28 km.
Situated between Frunţii Mountains and Ghiţu mountains, the lake collects the Capra, Buda and some other smaller rivers (Râul Doamnei, Cernatu and Vâlsan, Topolog, Valea lui Stan and Limpedea), with a total flow of about 5.5 million L /s. The total surface of the lake is 3,930,000 sq m, 10.3 km in length, with a maximum width of 2.2 km in the Valea Lupului zone – Călugăriţa. Normal level or water retention is 830.00 metres above sea level (mdM).
The dam’s construction took 5 and a half years. It required 42 km of tunnels, excavation of 1,768,000 cubic metres of hard rocks, out of which approximatively 1 million had to be extracted from underground, 930,000 cubic metres of concrete, out of which 400,000 cubic metres were underground and required the installation of 6,300 tons of electro-mechanical equipment.
The natives who worked at the construction of the giant from the mountains remember that there were hard conditions and that many men lost their lives. Nobody knows the precise number. In some documents it is stated that it was about 80 workers that died in different accidents, in some others about 20.
It is certain that after more than 40 years Vidraru Dam attracts thousand of tourists, even foreigners, which are amazed by this monument of the engineering technique. The inhabitants of Curtea de Arges remember how their town flourished in the years when the dam was built.
Today some of them think, frightened, about the fact that, if anything wrong happens there in the mountains, the freshet would reach Curtea de Arges in seven minutes, and the high of the waves would be of about half a block of flats. There was a problem back in 1977, when one of the slide valves blocked because of the water infiltrations, and hundred of tones of water washed the downstream localities, destroying several houses and killing a woman. But this kind of problems can no longer appear nowadays, or at least that is what the management team of Vidraru Dam states.
When completed, it ranked 5th in Europe, and 9th in the world. In an average hydrological year it can generate approximately of 400 GWh/year. As 2019, Vidraru Dam is the 16th tallest dam in Europe.
The Vidraru Hydro Power Plant has an installed capacity of 220 MW.
Read an article about The People’s House, other big project of the communist regime.