Futaleufú River

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Coordinates: 43°25′S 72°05′W / 43.41°S 72.09°W / -43.41; -72.09

Rio Futaleufú
Origin Argentina
Mouth Yelcho Lake, Chile

The Futaleufú River is a river in northern Patagonia fed by the lakes in the Los Alerces National Park in Chubut Province, Argentina, crossing the Andes Mountains and the international border into Chile and opening into the Yelcho Lake. On the Chilean side, the Futaleufú River has three major tributaries, the Rio Claro, which originates in the neighboring Futaleufu National Reserve, the Rio Espolon, and the Rio Azul. The Futaleufu watershed also includes several pristine Patagonian lakes such as Lago Espolon and Lago Lonconao.

A kayaker runs a rapid on the Futaleufú River on Chile

The Futaleufú is known for its deep blue waters created by glacier till deposited in the river, and for its white water currents, which attract rafters and kayakers from around the world. Specialized media consider the river to be one of the top three whitewater destinations in the world. Several international whitewater events have been staged on the river, attracting top ranked kayakers from around the globe. Every summer, the town of Futaleufú stages and annual river festival called "Futafest" attended by river enthusiasts from around the world. The Futaleufú is equally well known for fly fishing.

The Chilean government has recently proposed creating a hydroelectric dam, which may jeopardize the free flow of the river in the near future. This project is not expected to start until after 2014 as the Endesa Power company is intent on first building a dam on the Baker river South of Futaleufú. In the meantime, several Chilean as well as international non-profit organizations have formed to fight the dam project and protect the pristine natural wilderness area of the Futaleufú watershed. On the Argentine side of the border, there is another hydroelectric dam in service since 1976. The compound supplies electricity power to the aluminium alloy plant of Aluar in Puerto Madryn.[1] The Futaleufú, known locally as "the Futa," is quite simply one of the most beautiful rivers in the world.

Hydroelectric Complex Futaleufu Argentina built in 1976

The Futaleufú Department of Chubut Province in Argentina was named after this river.

The town of Futaleufú, Chile is close to the Argentine border and has a population of about 2,000. The main income for the community is fly fishing, white water rafting, and tourism.