The El Tambolar project is of the highest priority to the province of San Juan. It is integrated into the irrigation-related goals need for continued development of the agricultural sector. Past successes with projects equal in magnitude both in regards to completion and remaining within budget give this a real possibility of success.
The project is located 19 km upstream from Los Caracoles, in a place with favorable geological and topographic conditions—as it provides a relatively narrow gorge apt for a concrete-face rock-fill dam. The total fill volume of the site is around 6.2 million m³, which is similar to that of Los Caracoles and Punta Negra. The reservoir resulting from the 83 m high dam will have a 605 Hm³ capacity. The hydroelectric plant will not be attached to the dam, but rather connected via a 2625 m long pipe. The plant will be outfitted with two Francis turbines that feed two 35 MW generators, allowing for an annual output of 346.5 GWh. The net head will be 85 meters. The dam will have an open spillway with a discharge capacity of 4600 m³/s; it will feed a canal to the right of the river.
The building of “El Tambolar Hydropower Utilization” will complete the overarching project called “Integral Utilization System of the San Juan River’s Central Stretch.” Within this vision, it will work together with the hydro plants Los Caracoles, Punta Negra, and Quebrada de Ullum to optimize the use and management of the river’s water.
Furthermore, the project will improve the quality of life for the local population, as it will provide water and energy. Regarding specific objectives, the following are highlighted:
Contribute to the renewable energy supply entering the National grid (the SADI), thereby allowing better energy autonomy as all as better control over the San Juan river.
Reduce the rising risk of draughts and floods associated with global warming.
Contribute to the sustainability of cultivable land.
Create jobs: The opening of direct and indirect jobs related to plant operation and maintenance, as well as the resulting expansion of agricultural activities.