The dam-guard of Enel Green Power's plant on the Cavia lake in the province of Belluno (Italy) is a twenty-year old girl. Federica Sponga says: I realise it's not a common job, especially for a young girl like me. But I like it a lot up there. At an altitude of 2100 metres, performing a job that seems related to the distant past but is still essential to ensure efficiency and safety
“When I grow up I’ll be a dam-guard”. When children answer the inevitable question: “What will you be when you grow up?”, they sometimes give adults amazing replies. But few of them imagine for their future a job, which they might not even know and which sounds like something from the past, such as the dam-guard. Yet at an altitude of 2100 metres on the Cavia lake in the province of Belluno (Italy), today a twenty-year old girl controls Enel Green Power’s dam.
Federica Sponga, just like her peers, did not imagine this job for her future when she was a child, but nonetheless she is the only woman in Italy to perform this type of task today. She gives a simple explanation regarding her occupation to the Corriere delle Alpi newspaper that interviewed her: ‘I realise that it’s not a common job, especially for a young girl like me. However, I like it very much up there and I must say that I was really keen on the possibility of working at a dam.’
Controlling a dam is an activity that engages Federica a few days a week. She started acquainting herself with the waters and the Falcade facilities just over three months ago. ‘I worked for some time at the Vodo dam,’ she explains. ‘Once you get over the first phase of adjustment, everything becomes simpler. I also have an excellent relationship with the mountain. Of course this helps a lot.’
The mild winter spared Federica Sponga from any particular problems, who mainly found herself having to keep the measurement of basin of the Cavia lake under control. ‘But I’m convinced that working at a height of 2100 metres - when the snow and the cold actually arrive - will not be easy,’ she explains.
Far from the world and immersed in nature, Federica Sponga sees the days spent controlling the dam as an odd but interesting circumstance, not only from a professional point of view. ‘It should not be seen negatively, because you have time to spend exclusively with yourself, also because there is no internet up there and communication is reduced to the essentials. It also gives you a break from everyday life, though you have to remain alert and open-eyed. Later on the pace is likely to become less monotonous considering that, if the snow comes, we’ll have to shovel it.’