Govt rolling out studies for Valencia lake control project

Monday, November 14, 2011

The government of Venezuela is carrying out feasibility studies for a project to lower water levels on the Valencia lake, according to the environment minister (Minamb), Alejandro Hitcher.

"We're in preliminary studies so we can make the lake's water levels safer. We're talking about a transferring water elsewhere through a large tunnel or a canal," state news agency AVN quoted Hitcher as saying.

The government has deployed military staff in Aragua state capital Maracay to attend to families affected by the lake's rising waters.

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Chávez has also declared a state of emergency in Aragua municipalities Giradot, Linares Alcántara, Zamora, Libertador and Sucre, and created a 162mn-bolívar (US$37.7mn) contingency fund to address the crisis. Another 2.5bn bolívares will be used to relocate 1,046 households near the lake.

Water levels on the lake will continue to rise until the end of the rainy season, which normally falls in the month of November, according to Hitcher.

The Valencia lake occupies the Aragua valleys, enclosed between the parallel mountain ranges of the Cordillera de la Costa. One part is within the limits of Carabobo State and the other within Aragua.