Rio Cobre Dam

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Rio Cobre Dam
Rio Cobre Dam is located in Jamaica
Rio Cobre Dam
Location of Rio Cobre Dam in Jamaica
Country Jamaica
Location Spanish Town, Saint Catherine Parish
Coordinates 18°2′40.22″N 76°58′49.64″W / 18.0445056°N 76.9804556°W / 18.0445056; -76.9804556Coordinates: 18°2′40.22″N 76°58′49.64″W / 18.0445056°N 76.9804556°W / 18.0445056; -76.9804556
Purpose Irrigation
Status Operational
Construction began 1872
Opening date 1876; 141 years ago (1876)
Owner(s) National Irrigation Commission
Dam and spillways
Type of dam Gravity, diversion
Impounds Rio Cobre
Height 9 m (30 ft)

The Rio Cobre Dam is a diversion dam on the Rio Cobre near Spanish Town in Saint Catherine Parish, Jamaica. It is owned by the National Irrigation Commission. The primary purpose of the dam is to divert water into a canal on its right bank for the irrigation of up to 12,000 ha (30,000 acres) to the south. It also provides municipal water to Spanish Town. The scheme contains more than 48 km (30 mi) of canals and waters sugar cane, bananas and cattle.[1]

Plans for the scheme began with then Governor of Jamaica John Peter Grant in 1870. Construction began at the end of 1872 and by June 1876 the dam and canals were complete.[2]

In the late 1800s the West India Electric Company constructed a 900 kW hydroelectric power station upstream at Bog Walk to power a tram system in Kingston. On 24 June 1904, while workers were cleaning the station's penstock, water was accidentally released down it killing 33 of them. The power station was closed in 1966, 62 years after the accident but, the dam, the ruins of the turbine house and some of the concrete supports of the penstock still exist today.[3]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Aitken-Soux, Percy (1981). Overview of Agricultural Development in Jamaica. Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture. p. 0. Retrieved 28 April 2014. 
  2. ^ The Handbook of Jamaica. U.S. Government Printing Office. 1886. pp. 293–294. Retrieved 28 April 2014. 
  3. ^ "Bog Walk Tube". Jamaica Gleaner. Retrieved 28 April 2014.