Yacyreta Hydroelectric Project

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A Mega Project with Multiple Benefits
MWH led a four-country consortium that conceived, planned, designed and managed construction of the $6 billion Yacyreta Multi-Purpose Hydroelectric Project, which provides 3,200 MW of power, navigation, flood control, irrigation and water supply to a large region of Latin America.

Located on the Paraná River on the border between Argentina and Paraguay, the project encompasses a large area of Argentina and Paraguay and is fed from one of the largest river basins in the world that extends into Brazil. The main objective of the project is to produce electricity, but it also serves other important purposes such as navigation and flood control and provides a much-needed highway connection between Argentina and Paraguay along the crest of the dam.

    Location: Argentina
    Region: Americas
    Market Sector: Energy & Power
    Status: Complete

    With a total capacity of 3,200 MW, the project produces about 25 percent of the total energy consumed in Argentina. Completed in 2008, Yacyretá is one of the largest civil works construction projects built in Latin America in the last 25 years, and the largest in Argentina. The project includes the following main features:

    • A 65-kilometer-long, 42-meter-high earth-fill dam with 66 million m3 of fill
    • A 0.6-meter-thick bentonite cement slurry trench embedded into sound rock to provide a continuous cut-off
    • An above-ground, 800-meter reinforced concrete powerhouse that forms part of the water-retaining structure and houses twenty 160vMW turbines (the world’s largest at the time of installation) and associated equipment
    • Three intake bays for each turbine that can be closed by bulkhead gates, each 9.31-meters-wide by 18.34-meters-high, weighing 135 metric tons
    • Two spillways with a combined capacity of 95,000 cubic meters per second (equivalent to seven times the average flow of the Mississippi River)
    • A major lock that has opened up this stretch of the river to international navigation
    • A second power station for ecological flow
    • Fish facilities to enable upstream migration of fish across the dam


    MWH was responsible for all technical and administrative aspects of the consortium’s services, including planning and feasibility studies; detailed design; preparation of bidding documents and specifications; assistance during bidding; preparation of final designs and construction drawings; inspection and construction management; and preparation of operation and maintenance manuals.

    • Planning
    • Design
    • Construction Management
    • MWH developed and helped the contractor implement an innovative conveyor system for two-staged closure of the Paraná River, with an average flow of 12 m3/sec, and a maximum recorded flow of 53,000 m3/sec.
    • MWH designed the project to be built in stages, enabling client cash flow management.

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