Peru's President, General Francisco Morales Bermudez, opened a new dam at Piura below the foothills of the Andes mountains on Friday (4 June).
Peru's President, General Francisco Morales Bermudez, opened a new dam at Piura below the foothills of the Andes mountains on Friday (4 June). The project -- one of the biggest ever undertaken in South America -- will provide millions of litres (gallons) of water for irrigation and reservoir supplies.
SYNOPSIS: The complex forms part of an ambitious Peruvian government plan to create lush farm lands from water starved regions in the hot, desert scrublands below the mountain range. The opening of the dam was a high point of several years of difficult engineering and planning to harness the mountain waters. International finance has funded the project which has been undertaken by an international consortium. However, it is only one of several similar schemes underway in Peru. President Bermudez declared the opening of the dam a major step forward. He forecast that the next few years would see the creation of millions of new hectares (acres) of agricultural land, where once nothing grew. The President said the water would also create new grazing for herds of livestock -- and fresh drinking water for the people. He also declared the programme would offset Peru's large and costly food imports bill.
During 1975, food imports rose by 10 per cent. Although Peru is exporting substantial quantities of sugar, coffee and other agricultural products, the imbalance remains. According to peruvian Government officials, the possibilities for increased food production, by improved irrigation, are immense, However, the government still faces challenging problems. Of the 33 rivers which flow from the Andes to the pacific Ocean, all but seven dry up for part of the year.