Home affected by flooding from Yacyretá

Yacyretá Dam

Yacyretá Dam on the Paraná River has been under construction since 1979. A battle has raged to increase the height of the reservoir, thus putting 80,000 people in danger of being flooded out. Investigations by the World Bank and Inter–American Development Bank have shown that authorities of the bi–national company EBY are unable to handle the devastating social dislocation that raising the reservoir would cause.

Yacyretá is a textbook study in corruption, inefficiency, poor planning, and lack of respect for human rights and the environment. The project involves two governments and the World Bank and Inter-American Development Bank, which between them lent nearly $2 billion to build the project. 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." But 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.

In 1994, Yacyretá’s floodgates were closed and the reservoir partially filled, flooding river islands that were home to endemic species, decimating fish populations, and causing the expulsion of 15,000 people from their homes. Since then, the power plant has operated at a maximum of 60% of capacity. Because of the lack of studies on the project’s impacts, some of the damage caused by the dam is only now becoming apparent, including the possibility that water from the reservoir may be seeping into Argentina’s Iberá wetlands, destroying the region’s rich biodiversity.

International Rivers has been supporting Paraguayan and Argentine activists and populations affected by the dam in their efforts to avoid additional impacts from Yacyretá, and to hold the international financial institutions responsible for solving problems caused by the dam.

More information: 

Sobrevivencia – Amigos de la Tierra Paraguay, Principal Paraguayan environmental activist group, which has led the fight to prevent the raising of the level of Yacyretá Dam reservoir.

Entidad Binacional Yacyretá, Notoriously corrupt bi–national agency which is supervising completion of the Yacyretá dam project.