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The Amazon Under Threat: Damming The Madeira

Thursday, October 11, 2007
The Amazon is under threat. The Brazilian government is planning to build two massive dams on one of the Amazon’s most important tributaries, the Madeira River. The projects would threaten the river’s unique biodiversity, destroying habitat for fish, dolphins, parrots and a range of mammal species, and would affect the land and livelihoods of thousands of river bank dwellers and indigenous people.

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 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 hydroel

Madeira River

Madeira River vista
The Madeira River is the Amazon's largest and most important tributary. Spanning about a quarter of the Brazilian Amazon, the Madeira Basin is a treasure trove of biodiversity, providing home to the spotted jaguar, giant otter, pink dolphin, and countless other endangered mammal species. The river teems with life – an estimated 750 fish species migrate some 4,500 km each year to spawn and feed in the nutrient-rich, muddy waters of the upper Madeira. But all this is under threat. The Brazilian government is building two massive hydroelectric dams on the Madeira. Construction of these project

Paraguay-Paraná Hidrovia

Pantanal wetlands site planned for barge port, Mato Grosso
The hidrovia is a plan by the five countries of the La Plata Basin to convert the Paraguay and Paraná rivers into an industrial shipping channel. The original studies for this project were resoundingly rejected as a result of independent technical critiques, organized by the Rios Vivos Coalition, which not only disseminated technical objections to the project, but also helped organize a broad–based coalition of environmental, social, and indigenous organizations to discuss alternatives to the hidrovia with local communities throughout the region.

The Chixoy Declaration

Friday, October 21, 2005
The Latin American Network against Dams and for Rivers, their Communities, and Water Colonia El Naranjo, Cubulco, Baja Verapaz, Guatemala From the lands of Chixoy, the river whose waters carry the blood of 444 Guatemalan farmers - indigenous people, women, youth, children, and elders who resisted the construction of the dam and for this reason were massacred in 1982 by the repressive Guatemalan military. 418 representatives of Indigenous and Black populations, women, farmers, and representatives of social organizations, environmental groups, religious institutions, human rights groups, organiz

Amazônia Viva

Vaupés River, Colombian Amazon
More than 60 large dams are being planned for the Brazilian Amazon, and neighboring countries Peru, Bolivia and Colombia are planning dams of their own. If built, these projects would dramatically affect the Amazon’s fragile web of aquatic and terrestrial life, as well as displacing tens of thousands of indigenous and river bank communities.

Paraguay-Paraná Basin

Construction of Barra Grande dam, Pelotas River, Brazil
The Paraguay and Paraná Rivers are the principal watercourses of what is termed the La Plata River basin, South America’s second largest after the Amazon (2,800,000 km²), flowing through Brazil, Bolivia, Paraguay, Argentina, and Uruguay. The Paraná is born in highlands in eastern Brazil, while the Paraguay flows from Mato Grosso and the Chaco region. The Paraná flows 4,695 km (nearly 3,000 miles), emptying in the La Plata estuary near Buenos Aires and Montevideo. There are 54 large dams in the La Plata basin in Brazil, and 45 more are planned or in construction, affecting the Paraná and

Initiative for the Integration of Regional Infrastructure in South America

River port, Brazilian Amazon
The Initiative for the Integration of Regional Infrastructure in South America (IIRSA) is a bold effort by the governments of South America to construct a new infrastructure network for the continent, including roads, waterways, ports, and energy and communications interconnections. IIRSA’s single largest project is the Madeira–Mamoré–Beni–Madre de Dios hydroelectric and hidrovia (channelization) complex in the Amazon. IIRSA’s single largest project is the Madeira–Mamoré–Beni–Madre de Dios hydroelectric and hidrovia (channelization) complex in the Amazon.

Brazilian Dams

Tucuruí Dam, Brazilian Amazon
Xingu Encounter 2008 - May 19-23 About the Encounter Blog Image Gallery Video Introduction (Al Jazeera) Brazil is one of the world’s leading dam–building nations, and is already highly dependent on hydropower for its electricity, with about 80% of its electrical energy coming from large dams. Despite recent initiatives to diversify the country’s sources of electrical energy generation, energy planners and industries are pressing for a major expansion of hydroelectricity in Brazil, saying it is cruci

Latin America

The rivers of Latin America are a target of dam-builders to be exploited for electricity and irrigation. This vast and ecologically diverse region is known for the power and beauty of its river systems – the Amazon, the world´s largest river basin; the Paraguay and Paraná rivers and their wetland ecosystems; the Usamacinta River flowing through Mayan rainforests; and the crystaline waters of the rivers of Patagonia.