MOP spent US$46mn on repairs to irrigation infrastructure

- Wednesday, May 25, 2011

MOP spent US$46mn on repairs to irrigation infrastructure

Chile's public works ministry (MOP) spent some 21.9bn pesos (US$46.6mn) through its waterworks division (DOH) to repair irrigation infrastructure damaged by the February 2010 earthquake, according to DOH's head of irrigation, José Luis Larroucau.

The ministry spent some 3.61bn pesos on four reservoirs and 18.3bn pesos on repairs to 14 irrigation canals, Larroucau said at the national irrigation commission's (CNR) first annual meeting.

DOH also completed restoration work on the Coihueco, Llui Llui and Millahue reservoirs, which cost 1.25bn pesos, 1.08bn pesos and 1.21bn pesos respectively, Larroucau said.

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One of the largest projects carried out involved repairs to the Bío Bío Sur irrigation system, which straddles southern regions VIII and IX. DOH provided some 3.58bn pesos for the work, which included building a new canal section to replace a portion that was completely destroyed by the earthquake.

The work cost a total of 5.41bn pesos, the administrator of the Bío Bío Sur canal organization (ACCBBS), Claudio Rojas, said at the meeting. ACCBBS, CNR and agriculture development agency INDAP also provided funding for the project.

BÍO BÍO SUR CANAL PLAN

ACCBBS has completed development of a five-year strategic plan which aims to improve efficiency and water quality, as well as customer satisfaction for its members, Rojas said.

The plan also promotes innovation in irrigation technology. The organization's 1,300 members have some 40,000ha of land, only 8.9% of which is currently irrigated using modern processes, Rojas said.

ACCBBS is investing some 1.55bn pesos in projects aimed at improving irrigation technology as well as construction of its first hydroelectric project, which will generate income to support future projects.

The organization has also signed an agreement with state development agency Corfo's innovation program Innova Chile and region IX DOH office to modernize and optimize irrigation canals, Rojas added.