Trans-Andean tunnel to pump water to Peru’s farmers
Peru’s Lambayeque region is on the cusp of receiving a $190 million tunnel and dam system to provide water for new agricultural lands, which the government will auction off to both national and international investors. The Olmos Transandino Project is led by a subsidiary of Brazilian company Odebrecht and when construction is finished in 2012, the tunnel will span 20km (12.4 miles).
With the irrigation component of the project expected for completion in 2013, the Peruvian government plans to sell 38,000 hectares of land in the region at a price of $4,250 per hectare. The new water will also be available for existing agricultural land in the Olmos and Viejo Valleys.
Odebrecht’s subsidiary H2Olmos has worked on the megaproject since 2006 and upon completion it will manage the irrigation system for the next 23 years.
H2Olmos director Juan Andrés Marsano says with diverted water from the Huancabamba River the region will be able to tap its agricultural potential.
“They are premium lands that have not had water and now with water tunneled from the project they will be able to develop,” he says.
Marsano highlights the proximity of Peru’s second largest port at Puerto Paita just 200km away from the new farmland, as well as the new employment the project will generate. With a hydrological system bringing water from Atlantic-facing slopes the ‘sustainability of agriculture there will change completely’.
“We have evaluated many studies, done updates, supplemented information. We did all these studies and in that time it led us to make the decision this was a wonderful project to bet on.”