Lake Barcis is well known not only for its waters, tinged with a particular colour between green and light blue, but also as an important centre for lake sports, for example, windsurfing, sailing, motor boating, and sport fishing.
The lake, commonly called “Lake Barcis”, is named after Napoleone Aprilis, president of the Cellina-Meduna reclamation consortium when the reservoir was built.
On 25 March 1939, an agreement was signed between the Cellina-Meduna Reclamation Consortium and the Adriatic Electricity Company of Venice, which fixed the terms of the deal, of reciprocal commitments for the construction of the reservoir and the works for industrial and quantity of regulated water, available to the Consortium in the different seasons for irrigation needs.
Once operational, the Barcis reservoir would have made it possible to irrigate a further 9,300 hectares of the district to the right of the Cellina and to produce 160 million kWh per year.
Between 1937 and 1939, the Consortium implemented the project already drawn up in 1935, which envisaged using the waters of the Aviano irrigation ditch. On 5 October of the same year, the third Section of the Superior Council of Public Works approved the executive project drawn up by the Consortium in close collaboration with the technicians of SADE, acknowledging the maximum admissibility of the grant application but with the request to present the executive projects for the irrigation distribution of water, and for its industrial use, to be able to judge the extent of the state contribution based on the company’s economic deficit.
On 16 September 1940, the Consortium and SADE presented the projects within their competence, updating the prices and transmitting everything to the competent Ministry.
On 10 October 1941, the expenditure for the construction of the Barcis reservoir and the derivation, conduct and irrigation distribution of the water had been estimated by the Consortium at 114 million 437,000 lire, of which: 34 million 74,000 lire to be paid by SADE, 35 million 75,000 lire paid by the Ministry of Public Works; 20 million 105,000 lire to be paid by the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry; 24 million 575,000 to be paid by the Consortium, with an already significant rise compared to the initial forecasts.
The executive project of SADE, in agreement with the Cellina-Meduna Consortium, presented for final approval in 1941, envisaged a reservoir of 60 million m³ of water, blocking the Valcellina at the height of Ponte Antoni, with a dam of 70 meters. The submersion of the town of Barcis would have taken place, and its reconstruction higher up, in the locality of Dint.
During the Second World War, in September 1944, for Nazi retaliation, the inhabitants of Barcis suffered the fire of their country.
At the end of the conflict, SADE and the Consortium took over the projects to follow them up based on a further agreement stipulated in July 1951.
The town of Barcis, almost destroyed by the fire, had been largely rebuilt in the immediate post-war period with great population sacrifice. Also, taking into account the difficulty, on a sentimental and social level, of imposing a new forced exodus on the inhabitants by transferring them to a new town to be built from scratch, and with the villagers tied to their village, not wanting to abandon it,
especially after the outrage suffered by the Nazis, he had previously approved pre-war plans re-examined. Furthermore, the prices of materials and labour had increased enormously, as well as the cost of expropriations.
All that remained was to resize the project, which SADE provided with “magnificent efficiency and speed”.
Therefore the Consortium and SADE decided to build the dam at the Ponte Antoi strait at a limited height of 50 meters up to an altitude of 402 meters above sea level, creating a reservoir of only 20 million cubic metres without causing the town to submerge.
From 2020 until 2021, the lake was the subject of constructing a new bridge for the transit of heavy vehicles due to the modest capacity of the crowning of the dam, which will be used for degravel works on the lake.