CFE to shut down Malpaso dam for canal works

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Mexican state power company CFE will shut down operations at its 1.08GW Malpaso hydroelectric dam to complete the second and third stages of canal works on the Grijalva river, CFE said in a statement.

Experts from CFE and the national water commission (CNA), among other institutions, determined that ceasing operations would dry the canal bed and expedite removal of material.

The canal was dug through a mudslide that occurred November 4 between the Malpaso and 415MW Peñitas hydro plants in Chiapas state.

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The second stage of works began in early January and primarily entails expanding the floor of the canal to a width of 70m. Stage two is due to conclude March 20.

CFE and CAN hope the two stages will enable 900-1,000m3/s to pass through the canal to free up space in the dams' reservoirs before the next rainy season begins in June.

The third stage entails widening the canal to increase water flow to 3,500m3/s and includes stabilization works designed to reduce the risk of another mudslide.

As of CFE's last update on the canal's status on February 1, water was flowing through the canal at 420-480m3/s and 922,164m3 of material had been removed since beginning the second stage.