The Itaipu Hydroelectric Plant opened its spillway this Wednesday (1st), in order to drain part of the excess water accumulated in the reservoir due to the heavy rains that hit the Paraná River basin. Given the situation, the Itaipu Special Flood Commission (CEAC) reported that it is mobilized to provide “full assistance to families affected by the floods, mitigate the impacts on the riverside population and maintain the supply of electricity”.
The last time the hydroelectric plant had to open the spillway was in May this year, and the expectation is that the opening of the floodgates will continue uninterruptedly at least until Sunday (5). It is through the spillway that excess water that cannot be used for energy production drains. According to the binational, the plant is operating normally at 219.23 above sea level.
Opening the spillway is a measure adopted with the aim of ensuring the safety of the dam in situations of excess water. According to the company, the next 72 hours are those that generate the greatest concern, since the maximum level of the Paraná River’s inflow is expected to reach 18,100 cubic meters of water per second (m³/s) this Wednesday.
“Since dawn, it has been raining in the Ivai and Piquiri river basins, the main tributaries of the Paraná River basin. The forecast is for a lot of instability and more rain for the period in the region, both moderate and intense, repeating the magnitude of the values recorded last week in the Iguaçu River basin, which ended up damming the Paraná River”, informed the company.
With the rains that recently occurred in the Iguaçu River basin, the flow in the Falls exceeded 24 thousand m³/s on Monday (30) – the second highest volume ever recorded at the site, surpassed only by the 32 thousand m³/s peak in 2014.
The plant is managed by Brazil and Paraguay. According to a note released by the Paraguayan side, the average discharge flow for the next seven days will be approximately 4,400 m³/s, with a peak expected for Sunday (5), of approximately 7,100 m³/s.
Given the situation, the Flood Commission has been mobilized since Saturday (28), analyzing “all possible scenarios to adopt the best strategies that bring fewer impacts to the population and guarantee the safety of the dam”.
The company reported that, on the Paraguayan side, more than 385 homes were affected in different neighborhoods close to the border with Brazil. Among them are San Rafael, in Ciudad del Este, with 140 flooded houses. In the neighboring country, around 85 people were taken to hostels. They are being advised to wait until the situation returns to normal before returning.
“On the Brazilian side, some points, such as Marco das Três Fronteiras and the Iate Clube Cataratas, in the Porto Meira neighborhood, were affected.”