Colombia's ministry of environment, housing and territorial planning (Minambiente) has approved the environmental license for land use in the Triángulo de Tolima irrigation project, the government reported in a release.
Rural development institute Incoder can now award permits and concessions, and is generally to be responsible for any other decisions to advance the project, which will take place in the Natagaima, Coyama and Purificación districts, in Tolima department.
The license includes permission for activities including construction of infrastructure works.
In the meantime, the country's project development fund Fonade will continue with the tender process to award the construction of the first phase of the project, which involves the water intake system on the Saldaña river and a 9.6km-long canal to transport the water to the Zanja Honda reservoir in Coyaima municipality for irrigation.
The company or groups responsible for this will have two years to complete the job.
Once the first stage is underway, Fonade plans to call for bids on the second phase of works, which will involve construction of irrigation canals and other tasks.
The Triángulo del Tolima irrigation area is in the south of Tolima department and has an area of influence of 33,700ha, while 24,600ha will be directly irrigated.
The entire set of works on the irrigation district, including latter phases, is outlined to cost more than 388bn pesos (US$174mn).