Salto Grande Dam, A Bridge between Two Nations

The purpose of the visit to the hydroelectric plant is to spread the word about the work done by the binational organization in order to operate and maintain an entity that supplies energy to two countries.

Our stay in Concordia led us to see the Salto Grande Hydroelectric Plant, which has joined two nations for over 30 years in more than one sense, namely: Argentina and Uruguay.

We covered the 18 kilometers that separate Concordia from the spot known as Paraje Ayuí and once there, we joined a group that was entering the venue in order to carry out the visit. During the first stage, an illustrative video was projected and a brief chat provided the first approach to what we would see with our own eyes a moment later.

The guide made interesting comments in layman terms. Guides are also specially trained in order to provide more technical information, if required.

One of the main features is that Salto Grande is considered the first construction to integrate two countries in Latin America, whose agreement dates back to 1946. It emerged as a need to make use of the river course in order to supply both countries with electric power and to share a joint concern for the environment.

  • The large size

    The large size

  • The heart of the dam

    The heart of the dam

  • Descriptive models

    Descriptive models

  • A museum located on that very spot

    A museum located on that very spot

  • To exploit sports and navigation

    To exploit sports and navigation

For such purpose, several Argentinian and Uruguayan towns in the middle area of the Uruguay River basin disappeared. Some of them were Federación (Argentina) and Belén (Uruguay). It was not until 1979 that the reservoir was full and the first turbine was started.

We learned about the construction process, its energetic power and the operation of two engine rooms, one on each side of the river, supplied by 7 turbines each. We were told many cold figures in kW, MW and GWh. They were hard to remember but they turn out to be very illustrative for scholars.

A very significant step was the inauguration of the international bridge that joined both nations in 1982 as well as the two pre-existing bridges known as Colón-Paysandú and Gualeguaychú-Fray Bentos. In this case, it also meant adding a railway branch. The last hydro-generator started to operate in 1983 and it was then that the dam was officially inaugurated, as it was using 100% of its capacity.

Once the explanation came to an end, we were driven to the viewpoints and the bridge, where we caught a panoramic sight of the huge mass of concrete.

A museum located on that very spot shows everything related to the construction, the rescue of archeological elements and a countless collection of photographs and items used in the construction site.

In addition to the modern populations that developed from the dam on both sides of the river, the economic and social bonds between the neighboring countries were strengthened. The reservoir made it possible to take advantage of this environment in order to exploit sports and navigation, thus offering the area an endless source of tourist possibilities.

We celebrate the 30 years of power generation for the markets of two peoples that share their roots and have consolidated their relationship as neighbors.

Complejo Hidroeléctrico de Salto Grande
Tel: 54 0345 4216612 Concordia Entre Ríos

Autor Mónica Pons Fotografo Pablo Etchevers

Bear in mindBear in mind: Tours around the facilities are free of charge and take an hour and a half.

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