Dams come in for blame in western Amazon floods


When the Brazilian government in July 2007 approved construction of two large dams on the Madeira River near the Bolivian border, environmentalists, indigenous groups, and fishermen reacted with fury. Opponents took to the streets in protest. Angry letters, warning of the likelihood of worsening flooding, fishing, and disease, poured into government offices in both Brazil and Bolivia. In the end, the protests could not stop construction of the Jirau and Santo Antônio dams. The Brazilian government viewed the two facilities, with installed capacities of 3,750 megawatts and 3,150 megawatts, respectively, and a combined cost of roughly US$15 billion, as critical to avoiding electricity shortages such as those that afflicted Brazil in 2001. And the Bolivian government planned to build its own large dam near... [Log in to read more]

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