Rio Grande Dam, Ecuador


In 2009 the Ecuadorian government announced the beginning of the Chone Multi-purpose Project in coastal province of Manabi. This project encompasses several infrastructure works included a dam in the Rio Grande. This latter project would flood some 6.000 ha of farmland and cause the displacement of over one thousand of peasant families. According to the Ecuadorian government the project is aimed at protecting the city of Chone from flooding. However, comuneros argue that the proposed dam rather than avoiding the periodic floods, it will cause more problems as the ground is not suitable for the construction of any large-scale infrastructure. Moreover, they argue that there are other options more effective and with less social impacts. However, the government is completely decided to keep with the construction of the dam. As a consequence of the local opposition, in 20011 the government declared the area as a State Security Reserved Area and initiated the expropriation of the affected landholdings.

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Basic Data
NameRio Grande Dam, Ecuador
Accuracy of LocationHIGH local level
Source of Conflict
Type of Conflict (1st level)Water Management
Type of Conflict (2nd level)Dams and water distribution conflicts
Specific Commodities
Project Details and Actors
Project DetailsThe dam will be as 57 meters of high and a water capacity of 113 million cubic meters
Project Area (in hectares)6000
Level of Investment (in USD)50000000
Type of PopulationRural
Start Date2009
Company Names or State EnterprisesTiesijun-Manab company from China - contruction company
SENAGUA from Ecuador - state agency
Relevant government actorsEcuadorian government, National Secretariat for Water , Agriculture Ministry, Environment Ministry, Mayor of Chone
International and Financial InstitutionsInternational Labour Organization (ILO)
Environmental justice organisations and other supportersFundacion Regional Asesora en Derechos Humanos-Inredh (Regional Human Rights Advisory Foundation), Accion Ecologica
The Conflict and the Mobilization
Intensity of Conflict (at highest level)HIGH (widespread, mass mobilization, violence, arrests, etc...)
When did the mobilization beginPREVENTIVE resistance (precautionary phase)
Groups MobilizingFarmers
Indigenous groups or traditional communities
Forms of MobilizationBlockades
Development of alternative proposals
Involvement of national and international NGOs
Inhabitants stopped selling their agriculture products in the city of Chone
Environmental ImpactsPotential: Biodiversity loss (wildlife, agro-diversity), Desertification/Drought, Food insecurity (crop damage), Deforestation and loss of vegetation cover, Large-scale disturbance of hydro and geological systems
Health ImpactsPotential: Malnutrition
Socio-economic ImpactsVisible: Militarization and increased police presence, Violations of human rights
Potential: Displacement, Loss of livelihood, Land dispossession
Project StatusPlanned (decision to go ahead eg EIA undertaken, etc)
Pathways for conflict outcome / responseRepression
Local inhabitants (peasants called montubios in the coast of Ecuador) claim a right to previous consultation.
Development of AlternativesLocal communities have presented the Ecuadorian government different alternatives options in order to avoid the construction of the dam. The two most important are:

-The removal or modification of the Simbocal Dam. This dam is located in the lower basin of the Chone river and it does not allow to percolate water flows properly which entails increasing sedimentation.

- The restoration of Chone estuary, specifically the lower basin (until the Simbocal dam) which has been severely transformed during the previous decades mainly as consequence of the installation of thousands of shrimp-farming ponds.

Do you consider this as a success?No
Why? Explain briefly.Local alternative proposals have been rejected without considering them and any act of protest is repressed by the government.
Sources and Materials

Ecuadorian constitution

Ley Organica del Sistema Nacional de Contratacion Publica (Organic Law of State Contract)


Anchundia, Alexandra. 2012. Analisis de violacion de derechos Poblacin Rio Grande frente al proyecto de Proposito Multiple Chone. In: (last access march 15, 2012).
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Meta Information
ContributorSara Latorre
Last update08/04/2014