Principles and stakes


White water stadiums are facilities which permit the practice of white water sports (canoe, kayak, white water swimming, rafting, tubbing, hot dog…) within an organized and secured frame. These projects go with the developpement of out-door sports in an urban environment. White water stadiums bring white water into city and are real attraction centres.

There are various manners to create a white water stadium according to the possibilities of the site. The site chosen for the construction of the olympic white water stadium in Athens reinforces in the extreme these remarks. Based in the centre of the city, the Greek stadium, built on the former international airport of Hellinikon is supplied by sea water which is pumped three kilometres upstream. So, each site has got its solutions. However, this stadium is not the image of classic white water stadiums, it is an exceptional construction.

 Three parameters are required for the creation of a white water stadium:

  • Firstly, the available parcel must vary in between 6 000 square metres (white water stadium in Tournon Saint Martin) and 70 000 square metres (white water stadium in Athens) according to the ambition of the project.
  • Secondly, the water supply which can be natural by gravity, by stocking tide water, provided by a pumping system or both gravity and pumping.
  • Thirdly, the slope of a white water stadium is situated between 0.5% and 2.5%. For a 300 metres river, a difference in height of five metres will be suggested.

Each of these parameters can be find naturally on a site, or on the contrary can be create artificially:

If you have water and the right slope: it is possible to modify the river bed profile either by taking off some rocks or by adding rocks.

If you have a slope but no water: create a pond downriver and bring up water with pumps.

If you have water but no slope: use the difference in height created by a dam and build a branch river which will spread the fall.

If you have neither water nor slope : do an earth-moving to create a little colline and a pond downriver and bring up water with pumps.

If you have water but no slope: install a pumping station which will bring water to the beginning of the course.

If you are at the sea side: build a little dam in an estuary and stock the hight tide water. The storage will permit the good functioning of this tide providing white water stadium during low tide.



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