October 22, 2016

Chile’s large dam projects

International Rivers explains the problems associated with a series of large dams planned on Chile’s Pascua and Baker Rivers.

Chile recently approved the building of a series of large dam complexes on the Pascua and Baker Rivers amidst one of the last remaining pristine wildernesses on Earth. Further permission for a 1900 kilometer transmission line that will cut through large swathes of virgin temperate forest has yet to be granted.

Due to nationwide street protests, however, the Chilean government has been forced to put the work on hold. The majority of Chilean people are opposed to the scheme.

The $3.2 billion HidroAysén megaproject is a joint private venture that will potentially provide huge profits for its investors while destroying vast areas of the Patagonian wilderness, causing irreparable ecological damage and directly impacting the lives of the indigenous peoples in the affected areas. Further still, the main beneficiaries of the power generated by these dams will not be the people of Chile but the giant mining industries, who require the energy for smelting ore.

Senator Juan Pablo Letelier explains the impact of the HidroAysén project.

Photojournalist Daniel Beltrá explains why he opposes the large dam projects.

International Rivers also examines how some large dams around the world are now being removed and the rivers allowed to run free again.

More about dam removal and river restoration can be found here.


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