The Mexican government provided updates on several major infrastructure projects, providing the first new details on the Santa María dam and hydro project in several months, according to BNamericas.
The US$1.02 billion project on the Baluarte River in northwestern Sinaloa state has been planned for half a century. Construction began in 2015 under the administration of Enrique Peña Nieto, but it was incomplete when he left office in December 2018. Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador (AMLO) then promised to complete the project.
Although Santa María has seen a string of delays, it is slated for completion in 2021 after work on the project resumed in December 2020. However, during the president’s recent press conference, the communication and transport ministry stated that the physical advance on the project was at only 24%, up from 20% in July 2020.
A video update indicated that current work is centered on three key areas: containment, including a containment wall and berms; diversion, comprised of three diversion tunnels and two cofferdams; and overflow, including two broad-crested weirs.
Three diversion tunnels with a combined length of over 2.3 km are under construction, along with two spillways.
The project aims to provide irrigation for 24,250 ha of farmland and potable water to almost 430,000 inhabitants of Escuinapa and El Rosario municipalities. It will also serve as flood control for the region and provide an estimated 231 GWh per year of electrical energy for state-owned utility CFE.