New Online Map Plots 140 Large Dams Planned for the Amazon

International Rivers, Fundación Proteger, ECOA
Wednesday, August 18, 2010

“Dam rush” would Devastate Amazon Ecosystems and People

An interactive online database and map launched today graphically illustrates the impacts from more than 140 large dams at various stages of planning in the Amazon Basin. This unique resource, available at, uses official sources of information to document the shocking number of dams planned in the Amazon Basin in Brazil, Bolivia, Colombia, Ecuador and Peru, and outlines the devastation these projects would bring to the river and its peoples.

The Amazon plays a key role in regulating the world's climate and is an area of extraordinary biodiversity. The largest and arguably the most important river basin in the world, the Amazon contains 60% of the world’s remaining tropical rainforest. However, the more than 140 dam projects described in the database threaten irrevocable damage to the Amazon's biological integrity and to local populations whose livelihoods depend upon healthy riverine ecosystems.

Available in English, Spanish and Portuguese, the “Dams in Amazonia” database presents technical and economic data about existing, planned and partly built dams. In the Brazilian Amazon alone, more than 60 dams are planned; neighboring countries such as Peru, Bolivia and Colombia also have plans for massive projects.

“It’s astounding to see the plans that governments and the dam industry have for the world’s most important river basin. If all these projects are built, it would be catastrophic for the Amazon ecosystem and the livelihoods of hundreds of thousands of indigenous people and riverbank dwellers who depend on the river for survival,” said Brent Millikan, Amazon Program Director for International Rivers.

“For the next phase of this project, we plan to incorporate other useful sources of data, such as overlay maps of indigenous lands and conversation units, as well as transmission lines, in order to better illustrate how many dam projects will directly impact sensitive protected areas.” said Millikan.

“We hope the information in this online resource will be of great interest for governments, researchers, educators and non governmental organizations. The development of the database was technically challenging as it involved the participation of experts from seven countries, including Argentina, Brazil, Bolivia, Peru and the United States,” explained Federico González Brizzio, communications coordinator for Fundación PROTEGER, who was in charge of designing the database. 

“The information was compiled largely from official sources and from the companies involved, and was cross-checked with information provided by researchers and civil society organizations. Where there was divergences in information, this is noted with reference to the different sources, making the site more useful for people interested in obtaining detailed and reliable information,” said Brizzio. 

The site was developed by Fundación PROTEGER of Argentina and International Rivers of the US, with the financial support of ECOA, Brazil.

Media contacts: 

Federico González Brizzio, Fundación PROTEGER, Argentina,, Tel: +54 9351 307599

Brent Millikan, International Rivers, Brazil,, Tel: +55 61-8153-7009

More information: