Published: Wednesday 15 July 1998

Porto Privamera Dam, which is under construction for the last 20 years, may soon be commissioned. The dam will have serious environmental and social implications as it is being commissioned without necessary environmental and social mitigation measures in place, say environmentalists. The total cost of project is expected to be nearly us $9 billion ( us $7 billion over budget).

Electric Company of Sao Paulo will soon begin filling the dam's reservoir with water despite a court's order prohibiting the action.

Till today, the plan to compensate farmers, ceramic workers, fisherfolk, and others affected by the dam, has not been completed. According to estimates, nearly 6,200 people will have to be relocated, including the last of the Ofaie-Xavante indigenous people, and thousands more will lose their livelihood.

The Proto Prinavera reservoir would flood an area of 2,250 square kilometres, making it one of the largest human-made lakes in the world.

The dam would affect the survival of endangered species including marsh deer, giant anteater, broad-snorted caiman, giant river otter, and black and spotted jaguars. The government of Sao Paulo is trying to push through a measure in the state legislature that would effectively "extinguish" two protected areas to be flooded by the dam.

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