The opening of the floodgates at the Itaipú dam during the weekend is expected to bring some relief to the people along the Paraná river shores after 2023 also started with a downspout, although not quite as severe as in previous years.
Argentina's National Water Institute (INA) President Juan Carlos Bertoni had warned about scarce precipitations. In the city of Santa Fe, the Paraná river dropped 1 meter since the beginning of 2023.
With heavy rainfalls in Argentine Mesopotamia (Misiones, Corrientes, and Entre Ríos) and also in southern Brazil, a significant amount of water has accumulated at the Itaipu dam, north of Puerto Iguazu and the Iguazu Falls.
Hence, it was decided to open its floodgates after over a year to protect the safety of the hydroelectric power plant, according to specialists from the joint Brazilian and Paraguayan facility. Between Jan. 8 and 11, the dam increased its water levels by approximately 20 meters, particularly due to heavy rains since late November 2022 in southern Brazil, where the weather is expected not to change in the near future, due to which the floodgates will most likely remain open.
The National Water Institute (INA) warned that the water crisis in the Paraná Delta has not ceased and that scarce rains in the last few weeks herald an alarming scenario. According to the National Coast Guard (Prefectura Naval Argentina - PNA), the Paraná River in the city of Santa Fe stood at 0.45 meters on Jan. 14, a drop of approximately 1 meter since the beginning of 2023. The port of Santa Fe stands at 0.85 meters on average at this time of the year.
In the last months of last year, we had a certain recovery due to some punctual rains that occurred on the basin of the Iguazú river, something that is very noticeable in the falls, but it lasts a few days and that does not make the situation in the Paraná change, Bertoni said in a radio interview.