Latin bank funds management of Venezuela’s Caroni watershed

The Inter-American Development Bank (IADB) is lending US$14 million to the government of Venezuela to help enhance the hydroelectric potential of the Caroni River watershed, the location of four major hydro projects, including one still under construction.

Officials of IADB and Venezuela signed a loan agreement in December to fund a program of sustainable management of the Caroni Basin. The Ministry of Popular Power for the Environment is to manage the program, which is to focus on strengthening institutions charged with managing the watershed.

The program is to include protecting land rights, improving living conditions for local communities, and promoting appropriate land use practices.

IADB said the long-term objective of the program is to enhance hydroelectric potential of the watershed by creating conditions that encourage sustainable and integrated management of local resources.

The bank approved a US$15 million loan in 2005 to support control and prevention of environmental degradation in the Caroni Basin.

IADB is considering providing US$400 million in supplementary funding for construction of the 2,320-MW Manuel Piar (Tocoma) hydroelectric project on the Caroni River. (HNN 9/22/08) Upon completion in 2014, it would be fourth major project on the river, joining 10,300-MW Simon Bolivar (Raul Leoni or Guri), 2,160-MW Francisco de Miranda (Caruachi), and 2,910-MW Antonio Jose de Sucre (Veinte y Tres de Enero or Macagua 1-3).

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