Dominican Republic

Spotlight: Dominican Republic's long-awaited Monte Grande dam

Bnamericas Published: Thursday, December 15, 2022
Spotlight: Dominican Republic's long-awaited Monte Grande dam

After 13 years of planning and construction, the Monte Grande dam in the Dominican Republic is 90% complete, according to the national institute for water resources (INDRHI).

On Wednesday, INDRHI’s executive director Olmedo Caba Romano said the dam wall, that will reach 207m above sea level, is almost finished. While touring the construction site, he said Monte Grande is the most important water project currently being built by the Dominican government in terms of investment and infrastructure. 

The dam, on the lower part of the Yaque del Sur River, will be used irrigation and human consumption. At a later stage it will also be used for power generation.

It will boost irrigated land in the area from 25,000ha to 43,000ha and provide water for 400,000 people, and also help control floods. The project is located in Azua and Barahona provinces, and is part of the Monte Grande multipurpose project. 

The current stage III works are being carried out by the Monte Grande consortium comprising Brazilian company Andrade Gutierrez and its Dominican partner Servinca, which had initially committed to finishing them in August this year. To complete the project in 2023, two work shifts were introduced.

The Central American Bank for Economic Integration (Cabei) approved a US$250mn loan for the project, with the funds managed by INDRHI. However, according to news outlet Diario Libre, during the past 13 years the government has spent some US$480mn on the dam. The majority of the spending was reportedly during the administrations of Leonel Fernández and Danilo Medina, which allocated US$390mn to the project from 2009 to 2020. The original cost was put at US$354mn, while the latest estimate is US$623mn, the newspaper said.

Nearly 390 families in the communities of Monte Grande, Los Güiros, La Meseta and San Simón had to be relocated to an area named Centro Poblado. Two wastewater treatment plants are being built in the location as part of the project. 

Complementary works for the dam include the construction of primary and secondary canals, two hydroelectric power generation turbines, and conduction pipes from the reservoir to the water treatment plant from the regional southwest aqueduct (ASURO). The feasibility studies and the design for those works are due to be completed 1Q23, and the tenders for construction launched in Q2.

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