See / South America

[see] An Engineer’s Wet Dream: Itaipu Dam

The is the fourth in the Engineer’s Wet Dream series whereby I visit engineering wonders on my travels and try convince you that the wonder is worth seeing, without sounding too nerdy. If that’s even a thing.

We weren’t meant to stop here on our G Adventures tour but we had time and I persuaded the group they needed to see this wonder. The bestie enjoyed the visit and I got to meet one of the engineers who worked on the project. He’s now a guide and tells some interesting stories of what life was like, back in the good ole days.

Here are some fun facts about the Itaipu Dam.

1. The Itaipu dam is actually a combination of four dams; a gravity dam, 2 embankment dams and a wing dam. The main dam is a gravity dam.
2. The border dispute between the Brazil and Paraguay led to the creation of Itaipu Binacional (a committee that oversees the ongoing management of the dam) and the Itaipu Treaty.
3. The first generating units of the hydroelectric power plant was turned on, the year I was born!
4. The project cost US$17.4 billion… that’s quite a lot… O_O
5. Of the thousands employed, only 149 workers lost their lives building the dam. That’s much better than those building the Panama Canal!
6. Construction was super quick (compared to the feasibility study and design) . The builders poured concrete at a volume equivalent to a ten-storey building every hour. AH-MAZING.
7. The dam provides 17% of energy consumed to Brazil and 75% to Paraguay.
8. Today, Itaipu’s Cultivating Good Water program educates the community on the vitality of high quality and unpolluted water.

[Source: Various sources]

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Itaipu Dam

Tickets are RL$64 each and the tour runs for roughly 2.5 hours.

w: www.itaipu.gov.br

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