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South America Destination Guide

Itaipu Dam

Itaipu Dam Itaipu. the world's largest hydroelectric project, has benefited Paraguay because of the construction activity and Brazil's purchase of surplus power. However, should the price of competing sources of electricity drop, reduced Brazilian demand could saddle Paraguay with unexpected costs.

At present, the generators of Itaipu supply Paraguay with nearly 80% of the country's electricity and about 25% of the entire demand of Brazil. A record year for the project was 1997, when it churned out a staggering 88.2 billion kilowatts per hour. The dam is also a major tourist attraction, drawing in an estimated 1500 visitors a day.

Project propaganda omits the US$25 billion price tag (much from over invoicing and corruption in the awarding of contracts) and ignores environmental concerns. The 1350 sq km reservoir, 220m deep, drowned Sete Quedas, a more impressive set of waterfalls than Iguazfi, and stagnant water has provided a new habitat for anopheles mosquitoes, a malaria vector.

Tours leave from the Centro de Recepci6n de Visitas ( v 061 5998592), north of Ciudad del Este near the town of Hernandarias.Tours run at 8,9 and 10 am, and 1:30, 2:30 and 3:30 pm Monday to Saturdaypassports are required. A documentarv film, also available in English language video format, airs a half hour before the tour departs.

From Ciudad del Este, take any Hernandarias Transtur or TacurCl PucO bus from the roundabout at the intersection of San BlAs and Alejo Garcia. These leave every 10 to 15 minutes throughout the day.

Asuncion
Encarnacion
Ciudad Del Este
Itaipu Dam
Filadelfia

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