Last update:
2019-04-12

Yacyreta Dam on the Parana River, Argentina-Paraguay

Yacyreta dam is named as a as a "monument to corruption". It was built without prior consultation of the local population and displaced thousands of them.


Description:

In 1973 the Yacyreta Treaty, signed by Argentine President Peron and the Paraguayan dictator Stroessner, envisaged the construction of the Yacyreta dam along the Parana River, on the border between the two countries. The dam would flood 100,000 ha of land and displace many communities, including the indigenous Mbya Guarani people, whose territory would be completely submerged. Residents opposing the dam construction protested against the loss of their property and land rights. Despite this opposition the dam began construction in 1979, but the floodgates were closed and the dam was filled for the first time in 1994, provoking the evacuation of another 20,000 local residents. The survivors still demand compensation they never received from the forced displacement. The project was originally budgeted at $2.5 billion, during the period of military dictatorships in Argentina and Paraguay. The project’s total cost has now exceeded $15 billion. During his presidential campaign, Argentina’s Carlos Menem called Yacyretá "a monument to corruption." As International Rivers denounces, "despite well–documented allegations implicating engineering and construction companies and politicians in siphoning off public funds in the building of Yacyretá, no one has ever been brought to justice.”

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Basic Data
Name of conflict:Yacyreta Dam on the Parana River, Argentina-Paraguay
Country:Argentina
State or province:Corrientes
Accuracy of locationHIGH (Local level)
Source of Conflict
Type of conflict: 1st level:Water Management
Type of conflict: 2nd level :Land acquisition conflicts
Dams and water distribution conflicts
Plantation conflicts (incl. Pulp
Specific commodities:Land
Electricity
Water
Project Details and Actors
Project details:

The water level is 76 meters high. The dam is 808 metres long and has 20 turbines. Installed power capacity: 3,100 MW

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Project area:100,000
Level of Investment:15,000,000,000
Type of populationRural
Affected Population:20000
Start of the conflict:1983
Company names or state enterprises:Sacyr from Spain
Dumez from Argentina
Entidad Binacional Yacyreta (EBY) from Argentina
Salini Impregilo from Italy
Relevant government actors:Government of Argentina, Government of Paraguay
International and Finance InstitutionsThe World Bank (WB) from United States of America
Inter-American Development Bank (IADB)
Environmental justice organizations (and other supporters) and their websites, if available:Guaranis of Argentina, La Asociación de Comunidades Indígenas de Itapúa (ACIDI), International Tribunal of Indigenous People, in USA, ONG Sobrevivencia, International Rivers Network
Conflict and Mobilization
IntensityHIGH (widespread, mass mobilization, violence, arrests, etc...)
Reaction stagePREVENTIVE resistance (precautionary phase)
Groups mobilizing:Indigenous groups or traditional communities
International ejos
Local ejos
Local government/political parties
Neighbours/citizens/communities
Social movements
Local scientists/professionals
Forms of mobilization:Community-based participative research (popular epidemiology studies, etc..)
Creation of alternative reports/knowledge
Development of a network/collective action
Involvement of national and international NGOs
Land occupation
Lawsuits, court cases, judicial activism
Media based activism/alternative media
Official complaint letters and petitions
Public campaigns
Street protest/marches
Impacts of the project
Environmental ImpactsVisible: Biodiversity loss (wildlife, agro-diversity), Loss of landscape/aesthetic degradation, Deforestation and loss of vegetation cover, Large-scale disturbance of hydro and geological systems
Potential: Floods (river, coastal, mudflow), Global warming, Soil contamination, Surface water pollution / Decreasing water (physico-chemical, biological) quality
Socio-economical ImpactsVisible: displacement, Loss of livelihood, Loss of traditional knowledge/practices/cultures, Violations of human rights, Land dispossession, Loss of landscape/sense of place
Potential: Increase in Corruption/Co-optation of different actors, Lack of work security, labour absenteeism, firings, unemployment
Outcome
Project StatusIn operation
Conflict outcome / response:Corruption
Criminalization of activists
Land demarcation
Court decision (victory for environmental justice)
Migration/displacement
Do you consider this an environmental justice success? Was environmental justice served?:No
Briefly explain:The dam was built and there is a new plan to increase its electricity production capacity. The affected communities want compensation, and no further flooding. There is also a strong debate in Paraguay in 2012 on the proposed Rio Tinto smelter (that would consume much electricity at a cheap tariff).
Sources and Materials
Related laws and legislations - Juridical texts related to the conflict

Tratado de Yacyreta y Normas complementarias
[click to view]

ILO Convention 169

References to published books, academic articles, movies or published documentaries

Argentina from Pern to Cavallo (1945-2003). Economic History of Argentina from the Post-war until today. Silvestri, Francesco. CLUEB. 2004

La tierra que nos quitaron. Carrasco, Morita; Briones, Claudia. Ed. Iwgia. 1996
[click to view]

La lucha contra los modernos dinosaurios. World Rainforest Movement. 2003
[click to view]

La Debacle de Argentina. Una Argentina que muere y otra que bosteza. Gabetta, Carlos. Icaria. 2002
[click to view]

La lucha campesina 1990-2004. Pilz, Dania; Quintin, Riquelme; Rodriguez, Mirtha; Villalba, Roberto. Centro de documentacion y estudios. 2004. Represas.
[click to view]

Final report of the Independent Investigation Mechanism on Yacyretá Hydroelectric Project
[click to view]

Documental sobre las comunidades Mbya Guaraní desplazadas por la construcción de Yacyretá, 17/08/2015
[click to view]

Beneficios y Costos de Elevar la Cota del Proyecto Hidroeléctrico de Yacyretá, G. Terol, J. Reid, 2004
[click to view]

Links to general newspaper articles, blogs or other websites

La presa de Yacyretá · Paraguay – Argentina, Agua Rios y Pueblos, 13/10/2011
[click to view]

Yacyretá Dam, International Rivers
[click to view]

Yaciretá en problemas por rotura de muro de contención, Fundacion Eco Urbano, 17/02/2014
[click to view]

Wikipedia - Represa de Yaciretà
[click to view]

Related media links to videos, campaigns, social network

Dam pictures
[click to view]

Other documents

View over the Yacyretá dam Radionacional.com.ar
[click to view]

Aereal view of Yacyreta Dam Source: http://www.worldviewofglobalwarming.org/gallery/Hydroelectric_Geothermal/index.php
[click to view]

Meta information
Contributor:Lucie Greyl (A SUD) and Daniela Del Bene (ICTA-UAB)
Last update12/04/2019
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