Through the mists of history …
The construction of the Rochon Dam was first announced in the Seychelles Bulletin on Monday 28th of March 1966. It was a decision taken to minimise the impact of the seasonal shortages of water. Consulting engineers Humphreys and Sons planned and designed the dam. Construction was undertaken by W&C French Limited, the contractors.
Work started in early 1967 and it took 2 ½ years to complete. An average of 400 workers were employed on the project. No less than 7,000 pounds of gelignite had to be used in the blasting work and 15,000 tons of concrete went in the project which is 60 feet above the level of the original stream. The Dam which is 70 feet at its deepest has the capacity to hold 11 ½ million gallons of water.
The cost of the entire scheme including the treatment works and installation of town mains amounted to 8 ½ million. At that time, it was the biggest construction project ever to be carried out in Seychelles. The Rochon Dam was inaugurated on Saturday 26th April 1969 by Governor Bruce Greatbatch (1917–1989).
The population of Seychelles was then almost 50,000 inhabitants. In 1979, when the La Gogue embankment dam was completed, a 8km run of pipe was connected to receive overflow from Rochon Dam. The dam is named after L’Abbé Alexis Rochon (1741-1817), a French astronomer and scientist who came to Mahé in 1769. During his stay in Seychelles he camped by the Rochon River which is named after him.
Compiled by Tony Mathiot
Source: NATION 6-15-16