MEXICO CITY – President Felipe Calderon on Wednesday in western Mexico led the ceremony marking the start of diverting of the Santiago River to allow construction of the La Yesca dam, which will be the second-highest dam in the world.
To be able to divert the river it was necessary to build two enormous tunnels 14 meters (about 46 feet) in diameter to channel the waters away from the site.
The diversion of the water exposed the river bed so that workers can construct the dam, which is located on the mutual border of the states of Nayarit and Jalisco.
The project will require an investment of $767 million and is being carried out by the Mexican firm ICA for state-owned utility CFE.
Calderon said that the dam “will be the most important hydroelectric project” undertaken by his administration and will put “Mexico in the vanguard in the generation of clean electrical energy.”
He said that the structure will be the world’s second-highest dam, after one built in China.
La Yesca will produce 750 megawatts of electricity, Calderon added.
According to government calculations, the construction of the dam will create 5,000 direct jobs and around 15,000 indirect ones.
The Mexican president said that his government will increase spending on infrastructure despite the economic crisis.
“This year, we want to give a boost of at least 500 billion pesos ($32.89 billion), if not more, to infrastructure,” he said. EFE