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Argentine President Mauricio Macri has announced the launch of a new plan of works to expand the capacity of the Salado river in Buenos Aires province, an important agricultural area.
"These works will create close to 2mn hectares of land all ready to start full [agricultural] production," said the president at the base of the Salado river in General Belgrano, accompanied by interior, public works and housing minister, Rogelio Frigerio, public works minister Osvaldo Dinápoli, and the governor of Buenos Aires province, María Eugenia Vidal.
"We're starting a new stage that aims to end the damage caused by the flooding of the Salado river with a master plan that was created 20 years ago. This is upsetting because these are 20 years that we could have used to grow, develop, progress," the president said in an official press release.
Works in the river basin will be financed entirely by the national government and will be carried out on 27km of the river between La Laguna de Las Flores and Beguerie bridge in Lobos, with the aim of expanding the river's water capacity to avoid flooding in productive areas. This will involve widening and deepening the river channel.
On November 17, Argentina's interior ministry announced public tenders for the first three stages of the Salado river works for a total of 1.7bn pesos (US$110mn).
The president also thanked Queen Máxima of the Netherlands for the cooperation from the European nation in providing technical capacity and experience in works related to the logistical management of water.
The works are expected to begin in March and will take 12 months, benefitting 95,000 people in the districts of Junín, Roque Pérez, Alberti, General Belgrano, Villanueva and Bahía de Samborombón.
The earth removed with the excavations will be redistributed to areas affected by erosion, creating higher ground and thus aiding the recovery of 6,500ha of land around the three stretches of the river.
Dredging works will also be undertaken at the lagoons Las Flores Chica and Las Flores Grande to remove sediment.