Pakitzapango Dam

Update: In 2010, the Pakitzapango Dam was stopped through a legal action presented by the Central Ashaninka del Rio Ene (CARE). Odebrecht announced that they were no longer interested in building the Tambo 40 Dam, also in the Ene, Tambo and Ucayali river basin. Both dams are still listed on the government’s energy plan, so we will continue to monitor any new developments.

The waters of the Ene River and its rich sediments, the dense forests and abundant animals have given life to the Ashaninka people for thousands of years. But construction of the Pakitzapango Dam threatens this rich landscape and the future of the Ashaninka.

Slated to be built by Brazilian interests, the 2,000 megawatt Pakitzapango Dam would block the Ene River with a 165-meter-high concrete wall across a sacred site. The Peruvian government hopes to generate revenues by exporting hydropower to Brazil. In June 2010, both countries signed an energy agreement that includes building six hydropower dams in the Peruvian Amazon to supply more than 6,000 MW of power to Brazil. Brazilian companies Electrobras, Odebrecht, Engevix, Camargo Correa, Andrade Gutierrez, and the Brazilian National Development Bank (BNDES) are driving the push to build these destructive dams.

The health of the Ene River is crucial for the Ashaninka indigenous peoples, who depend on its fish resources, the fertile soils of its floodplains, and the many foods and other natural resources the forest provides. The dam will block the passage of sediments, and the migration of fish and other aquatic organisms. Pakitzapango Dam would negatively impact the life of close to 10,000 people.

Displaced populations from the Pakitzapango Dam would, in all likelihood, colonize buffer zones of the Otishi National Park. Otishi was created in 2003 to protect the ecological integrity of the Apurimac, Ene, Tambo and Urubamba river basins, which were threatened by colonization pressures. Isolated native people with different degrees of contact with the modern world (including some who have experienced no contact all) live in the park and its buffer zones.

The Central Ashaninka of the Rio Ene (CARE) has pledged to defend the Ene and the livelihoods of the Ashaninka that would be harmed by Pakitzapango. International Rivers is committed to supporting CARE's effort.

More information: 
  • Slideshow of areas that would be flooded by the dam by CARE