• Short Summary

    In the north-eastern territories of Brazil, one of the world's great dams in nearly competition.?

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    In the north-eastern territories of Brazil, one of the world's great dams in nearly competition. The region, which stretches from the northern part of Bahia State to the Amazon, and from Maraphao to the Atlantic coast, is one of the poorest and least development in Brazil.

    SYNOPSIS: The Sobradinho Dam is both a hydroelectric and an irrigation project. It has already changed the geography of the area and its impact on the way of life of the inhabitants will be incalculable. Built on the Sao Francisco river, it will regulate the among the water reaching the important hydro-electric scheme down-river at Paulo Afonso which, previously, during the area's long dry spells, could not work to full capacity.

    The dam will be eight and a half kilometres (over five miles) long and during its construction, it caused the formation of the world's largest artificial lake. Spreading over an area of four thousand two hundred square kilometres (1,622 square miles), and covering four townships, it has already changed the climate in two state, due to the volume of water evaporating.

    Construction of the dam started in 1971. Although inaugurated in May last year, the first of its six Soviet-built turbines will not start operating until July. The dam will be fully operational by 1981, and will have cost six hundred and fifty million dollars (US). But the difference it will make to the life style of these people will make every cent worthwhile.

    Thirty percent of Brazil's population lives in this rural north-east region, yet the average income is a mere tenth of Brazil's national average which, in 1977, was just over a thousand dollars (U.S.) a year. But with the completion of the dam, the formerly-arid area should be able to produce crops such tomatoes and green vegetables -- never seen in the region before irrigation projects were made possible by the Sobradinho Dam.

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    Reuters - Source to be Verified
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