Misicuni Dam

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Misicuni Dam
Misicuni Dam is located in Bolivia
Misicuni Dam
Location of Misicuni Dam
Country Bolivia
Location Cochabamba Department, Cochabamba
Coordinates 17°5′48.66″S 66°19′48.53″W / 17.0968500°S 66.3301472°W / -17.0968500; -66.3301472Coordinates: 17°5′48.66″S 66°19′48.53″W / 17.0968500°S 66.3301472°W / -17.0968500; -66.3301472
Purpose Power, irrigation, municipal water
Status Under construction
Construction began June 2009
Owner(s) Empresa Misicuni
Dam and spillways
Type of dam Embankment, concrete-face rock-fill
Impounds Misicuni River
Height 120 m (390 ft)
Length 434 m (1,424 ft)
Elevation at crest 3,784 m (12,415 ft)[1]
Total capacity 185,500,000 m3 (150,400 acre·ft)
Active capacity 31,500,000 m3 (25,500 acre·ft)
Inactive capacity 154,000,000 m3 (125,000 acre·ft)[2]
Surface area 4.6 km2 (1.8 sq mi)
Normal elevation 3,774 m (12,382 ft)
Power station
Name Misicuni Hydroelectric Plant[3]
Coordinates 17°18′54.54″S 66°15′36.55″W / 17.3151500°S 66.2601528°W / -17.3151500; -66.2601528
Type Conventional, diversion
Turbines 2 x 40 MW Pelton-type[4]
Installed capacity 80 MW
http://www.misicuni.gob.bo/ (Spanish)

The Misicuni Multiplepurpose Project, better known as the Misicuni Dam, is a concrete-face rock-fill dam partly constructed on the Misicuni River about 35 km (22 mi) northwest of the city of Cochabamba, Bolivia. The dam will divert water from the Misicuni River to the Cochabamba Valley for several purposes to include providing water for irrigation and municipal water uses. In addition, the dam will have an associated 80 MW hydroelectric power station when complete. Construction on the dam began in June 2009 but was halted in November 2013 due to contract disputes. The company seeking to build the dam, Empresa Misicuni, is currently rebidding the project.[5][6]

Characteristics and costs[edit]

The project has three components:

  • Phase I includes an already completed 20 km tunnel with the capacity to provide 2 cubic meters per second of drinking water and 1 cubic meter per second for irrigation to Cochabamba and the surrounding areas. Its cost was US$84 million.
  • Phase II includes a 120 meter-high concrete-face rock-fill dam with a 460-hectare reservoir with a storage capacity of 154 million cubic meters, as well as pipelines, pumping stations, a water treatment plant and an irrigation network to irrigate 4,000 hectares (under construction as of 2013). Its cost was also estimated at US$84 million,
  • Phase III includes a hydropower plant with an installed capacity of 80 MW at an estimated cost of US$200 million (under construction since April 2010). Water will be diverted from the reservoir through a 3.8 km (2.4 mi) long penstock to the plant.[7] [8] [9]

The dam will be the highest and largest dam in Bolivia.[10] Misicuni project director Ramiro Saniz said in 2009 that the water from the Misicuni river is not sufficient to fill the reservoir and that other sources are needed.[9]

Background and construction progress[edit]

The public company in charge of developing the project is Proyecto Misicuni, an entity created by law in 1987. The contractor for the US$ 90 million dam component is the Consorcio Hidroelectrico Misicuni (CHM). The Misicuni consortium, led with 51 percent ownership by Grandi Lavori Fincosit S.p.A. of Italy, was the sole bidder for the project. Bidding was limited to Italian companies and CHM was the only company to submit a bid.[7] [9] The consortium also includes Bolivian, Colombian and Venezuelan firms.[11]

The dam component was originally expected to be completed in 2014. However, in November 2013 the contract was canceled amid delays because CHM "failed to pay for pension funds, health insurances and other labour benefits and to contract key technical personnel."[12]


The tunnel provides 4.5-7.5 million cubic meters of water per year to Cochabamba since 2005,[13] depending on whether the flow of the river is low or high and supplying about 10 percent of the city's drinking water. Once the dam will be completed, the amount of drinking water available will increase tenfold to 63 million cubic meters per year.

Environmental and social impact[edit]

1365 people live in the reservoir area that will be flooded and will be relocated. The Tunari National Park will also be affected.[8]


The dam is partially financed by the Italian government through a 25 million Euro loan and the Development Bank of Latin America (CAF).[14] Total funding from Italy for Phased II and III is USD 93 million. Bolivia will have to pay back the loan over in 20 years with a 0.10% interest rate.[11]

The construction of the penstock, hydropower plant and power transmission line is funded by a US$ 101 million loan from the Inter-American Development Bank approved in 2009.[15] These works were expected to be completed by 2015, but were only 30 percent completed as of April 2013.[16]


  1. ^ Erik Muñoz Vargasm, Juan Pablo Rojas A., René C. Murillo, Jaime Ponce B. (October 2010). "Multiple Project Misicuni" (PDF). Journal Boliviano de Ciencias (in Spanish) 7 (21). ISSN 2075-8936. Retrieved 7 January 2015. 
  2. ^ "Estudio de Evaluación de Impacto Ambiental Proyecto Misicuni Fase I" (in Spanish). Empresa Misicuni. September 2007. Retrieved 7 January 2015. 
  3. ^ "Misicuni: Proyecto Hidroelectrtico de Energia Renovable" (in Spanish). Banco Interamericano de Desarrollo. p. Annex Page 2. Retrieved 6 January 2015. 
  4. ^ "Misicuni Renewable Energy Hydroelectric Project". Inter-American Development Bank. Retrieved 6 January 2015. 
  5. ^ "CFRD project update". Water Power & Dam Construction. 30 June 2011. Retrieved 6 January 2015. 
  6. ^ "Bolivia seeks bids to complete interrupted dam work on 80-MW Misicuni hydro project". Hydro World. 23 May 2014. Retrieved 6 January 2015. 
  7. ^ a b "Bolivia signs Italian firm to build Misicuni Dam". HydroWorld. 28 May 2009. Retrieved 9 December 2013. 
  8. ^ a b "Misicuni Dam Profile". dams-info.org. Retrieved 9 December 2013. 
  9. ^ a b c "Bolivia, Cochabamba: work on Misicuni dam and water supply services set to start". 28 January 2009. Retrieved 9 December 2013. 
  10. ^ Fernández, Jorge (2012-04-03). "Represa de Misicuni llega a 24 metros de altura y avance de 25 por ciento". Opinión (Cochabamba). Retrieved 2012-07-26. 
  11. ^ a b "Bolivia: Italian government to provide US$93mn for Misicuni project". 6 October 2009. Retrieved 9 December 2013. 
  12. ^ "Bolivia's Empresa Misicuni cancels contract for dam construction". SeeNews. Renewables. Retrieved 8 December 2013. 
  13. ^ "Proyecto Misicuni: Volumines entregados a SEMAPA 2005-2013". Empresa Misicuni. Retrieved 8 December 2013. 
  14. ^ Vásquez, Katiuska (2012-07-23). "Gobernador no descarta que Misicuni pierda crédito italiano". Los Tiempos. Retrieved 2012-07-26. 
  15. ^ "BO-L1043 : Misicuni Renewable Energy Hydroelectric Project". IDB. Retrieved 8 December 2013. 
  16. ^ "IDB BO-L1043 - Misicuni Renewable Energy Hydroelectric Project: Progress Monitoring Report May 2013". Inter-American Development Bank. Retrieved 8 December 2013.