Chile's government plans to spend up to US$260mn on a six-year multipurpose water plan for the country's northernmost region XV, the regional plan's coordinator, Marcelo Díaz, told BNamericas.
The water sector investments are part of the so-called Plan Arica, designed to boost the economy in the border region.
The plan will have a three-prong approach, with the first focusing on infrastructure projects, the second on supervision and water resource management, and the third on studies and rural development.
The first infrastructure project will be construction of the Chironta reservoir, currently at the design stage. The project has a planned capacity of 17-19Mm3 and will cost some US$70mn. Construction is scheduled to begin by mid-2013 and take approximately three years.
In addition, the government will invest some 18bn pesos (US$34.6mn) to enclose the 41km Azapa canal in the valley of the same name. Work is scheduled to begin in 2H12 and will take some 18 months to complete.
The two projects are priorities of the plan's infrastructure branch, and were also commitments made by President Sebastián Piñera, which means funding should be available, according to Díaz.