Xingu River

The Xingu River flows from the tropical savanna of central Mato Grosso, Brazil northward to the Amazon for 1,979 km (1,230 miles). Some 25,000 indigenous people from 18 distinct ethnic groups live along the Xingu. In 1989, an international mobilization led by the Kayapó Indians stopped state-owned electric company Eletronorte´s plans to construct a six-dam complex on the Xingu and its tributary, the Iriri.

Map of the Rivers of the Amazon
Map of the Rivers of the Amazon
Wikipedia Commons

In 2016, Brazil completed construction of a huge dam on the Xingu River, called Belo Monte. Belo Monte will be the third-largest hydroelectric project in the world and requires diverting nearly the entire flow of the Xingu through two artificial canals to the dam's powerhouse, leaving indigenous communities along a 100 km stretch of the Xingu´s Big Bend without water, fish, or a means of river transport.

The Belo Monte Dam is already causing severe impacts to indigenous villages and areas considered of extreme importance for conservation of biodiversity, as well as irreversible impacts to the Xingu´s fish stocks.

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