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Chixoy Hydroelectric Dam

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Title: Chixoy Hydroelectric Dam  
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Subject: Chixoy River, Water resources management in Guatemala, List of hydroelectric power stations in Guatemala, World Bank Group
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Chixoy Hydroelectric Dam

Chixoy Dam
Official name Planta Hidroeléctrica Chixoy
Location San Cristóbal Verapaz
(Alta Verapaz)
Construction began 1976
Opening date 1983
Construction cost US$ 944 million
Operator(s) EGEE - INDE
Dam and spillways
Impounds Chixoy River (Río Negro)
Height 90 m
Length 250 m
Width (base) 12 m
Total capacity 460 million m³
Surface area 14,000 hectares

The Chixoy Dam (Spanish: Planta Hidroeléctrica Chixoy) is a reinforced concrete dam and power plant spanning the Chixoy River between the Departments of Baja Verapaz, El Quiché and Alta Verapaz, Guatemala. It is the largest structure of its kind in the country.

It was built between 1976 and 1985 and it generates approximately 15% of the country's power.


Chixoy Hydroelectric Dam bridge
Width 12 m

Construction on the dam started in 1976, with funding from the World Bank and the Inter-American Development Bank. Major redesign work was needed to address adjusted seismic criteria for the dam and tunnelling works, following the heavy 1976 earthquake. Additional costs were made to correct engineering errors, and to finance repairs to tunnel damage in the first year of operation, resulting in substantial over-budgeting.[1] From the US$372.7 million calculated costs in 1978,[2] the Chixoy project ended up costing US$944 million.[3]

The construction of the dam, and its reservoir, displaced several local communities with a total population of 3,445 people.[4] Community resettlement efforts were poorly handled by the consecutive military governments at the time. Subsequent popular protests and claims were met with extremely brutal repression by government forces, and culminated in what is known as the Río Negro Massacres.[5][6] Claims have not yet been settled 25 years after the hydro-electric plant went into operation.

Power plant

The hydroelectricity plant has 5 x 60 MWe Kaplan turbines with an effective capacity of 275 MWe, which is approximately 15% of Guatemala's total electricity production (2006) and 60% of INDE's electricity production.[7] A 26 km long tunneling system with an elevation difference of 433 m, feeds the water to the plant's turbines.[8]

See also


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External links

  • Instituto Nacional de Electrificación (INDE)
  • Staff Appraisal Report Worldbank - Guatemala Chixoy Power Project, June 15, 1978
  • Centro Histórico y Educativo Río Negro - La Represa Chixoy
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