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  • Writer's pictureThe San Juan Daily Star

PREPA signs contract for dredging of 5 reservoirs

Guajataca Reservoir straddles three towns in northwestern Puerto Rico: San Sebastián, Quebradillas and Isabela.

By The Star Staff

The Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority (PREPA) and CSA Group LLC signed a contract for design services, field investigations, and consulting for the dredging of the Dos Bocas, Caonillas, Guajataca, Guerrero and Garza reservoirs, the first phase of which will take an estimated eight months, it emerged on Thursday.

“The goal of this project is to return to these reservoirs the storage capacity they had before the passage of both hurricanes [in 2017] through the island,” said Jaime Umpierre Montalvo, PREPA’s director of operations and HydroCo.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) is contemplating removing about 4.2 million cubic yards of sediment in 11 reservoirs, at an estimated cost of $350 million.

Umpierre Montalvo noted that Hurricanes Irma and Maria deposited a significant amount of sediment in PREPA’s main water storage reservoirs, shortening their operational capacity.

The PREPA official said the reservoirs provide water for energy generation, the public corporation’s irrigation system, and raw water for more than 500,000 people in the northern, eastern and southeastern regions of Puerto Rico. He highlighted that the Dos Bocas and Caonillas reservoirs in Utuado are significant since they are used for the production of hydroelectric energy and provide between 75 and 100 million gallons of water daily to municipalities in the north and the metropolitan area through the North Coast Super Aqueduct.

Umpierre Montalvo added that the dredging project will remove some 1.3 million cubic yards of sediment in Dos Bocas and 918,567 cubic yards in Caonillas. He also announced that the contract for the dredging design of the six remaining reservoirs, Matrullas, Guineo, Guayabal, Lucchetti, Loco and Guayo, is expected to be signed in the first week of July after receiving approval from the Financial Oversight and Management Board.

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