Completed Projects

Los Caracoles Hydropower Plant

The area of direct influence is comprised of the valleys of Ullum, Zonda and Tulum, as well as the departments (counties) of Ullum, Zonda, Chimbas, Rivadavia, Rawson, Santa Lucía, Pocito, Sarmiento, Albardón, Angaco, San Martín, Caucete and 25 de Mayo.


This project aims to accomplish economic and social development for the province of San Juan, sustainability in irrigation and drainage systems in the Valles de Tulum and Ullum-Zonda, as well as sustainability for the National Grid.

Specific goals:
-Utilization of hydropower for generation
-Introduce more power into the wholesale energy market (MEM)
-Availability and management of water for agricultural purposes
-Control of sediments and water levels

Water management brought about by this project produces an increase in cultivable land by roughly 12,500 hectares, as well as added security to the 110,000 hectares of cultivable land already depending on irrigation.

Technical Information:

-The dam is made of loose materials topped with a screen of waterproof concrete. When the project was restarted in September of 2004, it was determined to be 27% complete. At that point, all of the structures diverting water from the San Juan river were in place, and part of the embankment enclosure base.

-The dam has a height of 128.80 m over the riverbed, a length on top of 620 m, and a volume of loose material totaling 9.7 million m³. The reservoir volume is 565 hm³. The spillway is designed for a maximum discharge of 3,200 m³/s.

-The power plant has a net head of 150 meters with a nominal flow rate of 90 m³/s. The output is 715 GWh annually, produced by two Francis turbines at 62.6 MW each.

-Power generated by the plant is transmitted by a high-tension line with double ternary at 132 kV. It runs 47.9 km, from Los Caracoles to an intermediate substation where it is incorporated with the power resulting from the Punta Negra Power Plant. All of the power from both plants then goes to the Punta de Rieles transformer station located close to the city of San Juan, where it then connects to both the local and national grids.


-Increase in irrigatable land.
-Contribution to and facilitation of local economic activities.
-Job creation, both direct and indirect.
-Increase in cultural, touristic, and regional activities.
-Increase in real estate value for the region.
-Better regulation of irrigation.
-Better quality of life for residents.
-Better prices of power production.
-Increase in the quality of both water and power.

The San Juan river brings large amounts of solid material annually, around 3.4 million m³, roughly a third of what was needed to construct the dam. The negative effects brought about by this sedementation will be mitigated and the lifespan of this dam increased once the El Tambolar dam is completed upstream.

Project Staff

Ingeniero Eléctrico Alfredo Omar Ibazeta

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