Brazil is one of the world’s largest dam building nations where most dams have been constructed primarily for hydroelectric power generation. Being a highly industrialized economy, Brazil’s economy is largely dependent on dams for hydroelectric power, fishing, and agriculture. Brazil’s tallest dams have also aided in flood control for some of the country’s longest rivers.
The 10 Tallest Dams In Brazil
At 682 feet the Irapé dam is the tallest dam in Brazil constructed along the Jequitinhonha River. It is an embankment rock-fill dam is located in the state of Minas Gerais used for hydroelectric power generation. The dam carries a volume of 10,360,000,000 cubic feet.
Campos Novos Dam
The Campos Novos is a 663 ft tall rock-fill dam constructed along the Canoas River in Santa Catarina State. Construction of the second tallest dam began in 2001 and was completed in 2006. The purpose of the dam was to supplement the nation’s main power production unit.
Itaipu Dam is a hydroelectric power generating dam located on the border of Brazil and Paraguay. It is the most important dam in Brazil constructed along the Paraná River with a combination of embankment sections, buttress, and gravity. The dam is 643 ft tall and has a capacity of 430,000,000 cubic feet of water.
Barra Grade Dam
Barra Grade dam was constructed on the Pelotas River near Celso Ramos. The dam was constructed through face rock-fill with an embankment. It measures 607 feet in height and 2,182 feet in length. It supplies hydroelectric power.
Bento Munhoz da Rocha Netto Dam
The 520 ft tall Bento Munhoz da Rocha Netto Dam was constructed along the Iguazu River in the Paraná State. Construction works of the concrete rock-fill dam were undertaken between 1976 and 1980. The main aim of the 499,300,000 cubic ft. volume was to generate hydroelectric power.
Pai Querê Dam
Pai Querê Dam is located along the Pelotas River between the State of Santa Catarina and the Rio Grande do Sul. Construction of the 518 ft Pai Querê Dam was aimed at increasing hydroelectric power into the national grid.
The Emborcação Dam
The 518 ft high Emborcação Dam was constructed to provide hydroelectric power and to assist in controlling floods along the Paranaíba River. Also known as Theodomiro Santiago, the dam is located in Rio next to Araguari in Minas Gerais.
Serra da Mesa Dam
The Serra da Mesa Dam was constructed along the Tocantins River in the State of Goiás. It is a 505 ft tall embankment dam primarily for hydroelectricity production and irrigation in Goias.
The Ney Braga de Barros Dam was constructed along Iguazu River between 1987 and 1992. It is a 476 ft tall concrete face rock-fill type of dam with an embankment constructed in the Paraná State with the main aim of hydroelectric power generation.
The Xingó Dam is located along the São Francisco River on the border of Alagoas and Sergipe. The 460 ft tall concrete face rock-fill dam was opened in 1994 to substantiate hydroelectric power production and aid in navigation.
Future of Dam Construction
Despite the recent initiatives taken to expand hydroelectric power production to boost economic growth in Brazil, dam construction is facing wide criticisms. Dam construction has created social and environmental issues as it has destroyed natural river systems particularly along the Amazon basin. Dam opponents are urging the government to look for more appropriate and less destructive means of producing electricty in a bid to reducing social and environemtal conflicts.