Decades in the Making: Picachos, Santa Maria Dams Take Off
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Decades in the Making: Picachos, Santa Maria Dams Take Off

Photo by:   Rahul Pabolu
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Adriana Alarcón By Adriana Alarcón | Journalist & Industry Analyst - Tue, 08/01/2023 - 09:29

In a significant journey to boost agricultural prosperity and improve water supply to communities, President Andrés Manuel López Obrador visited the Picachos dam in Sinaloa. The project aims to create a vast irrigation system that will benefit thousands of farmers and communities in the region, promising increased harvests and improved water access.

The Picachos dam project, under the leadership of Alejandro Isauro Martínez, General Director, North Pacific Basin Organization, delivered the first phase of this system, covering an area of 2,000 hectares. This stage is expected to positively impact 385 farmers in the region, providing them with a reliable water supply to irrigate their crops and transform their agricultural endeavors. 

The benefits of this project are expected to expand beyond just agriculture. The Picachos-Concordia aqueduct is set to be completed in December 2023,  providing drinking water to the municipal capital of Concordia. The aqueduct will have three functions: supplying water for domestic consumption, irrigating over 20,000 hectares and generating electricity, further boosting the region's development and infrastructure.

The Picachos Dam project is the result of decades of planning. The first stage, involving the construction of the Picachos storage dam, was completed in 2009. Cedric Iván Escalante, Director General, Santa María dam, says that this hydraulic project will start operations on Dec. 31, 2023. In April 2024, the irrigation zone in Sinaloa, which required a MX$20 billion (US$1.1 billion) investment, is expected to start operations.

For many years, the region has faced challenges in harnessing water resources for agricultural purposes. Studies dating back to the 1970s have looked to establish the most viable alternatives for the most feasible options for the region. In the 1980s, the federal government allocated economic resources to develop hydro-agricultural infrastructure, marking the beginning of a journey that culminated in the Picachos dam project. The integral project was divided into two parts. 

The first stage included the construction of the Picachos storage dam, which was completed in 2009, while the second stage was the Santa Maria dam. Once completed, in February 2024, the irrigation system will cover over 22,500 hectares and benefit 3,172 farm workers.

Photo by:   Rahul Pabolu

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