May 21, 2020

Yacyreta Dam Increases Water Discharge to Aid Parana River

Author: Michael Cordonnier/Soybean & Corn Advisor, Inc.

Brazil. Paraguay, and Argentina have coordinated their efforts to increase the flow of the Parana River at the port hub of Rosario, Argentina. A severe drought in southern Brazil has resulted in the lowest water levels on the Parana Rive in over 50 years. This has resulted in grain vessels at Rosario not being able to be loaded to capacity.

Operators of the Itaipu Hydroelectric Dam on the border of Brazil and Paraguay have agreed to increase the water discharge by temporarily opening the spillway for a 12-day period. Downriver from the Itaipu Dam is the Yacyreta Hydroelectric Dam, which is located on the border of Argentina and Paraguay, and they have agreed to increase the discharge from their reservoir as well.

These joint efforts are expected to temporarily increase the water level at Rosario by 2 to 3 meters. It will also allow barges filled with soybeans to leave Paraguay and head downriver to ports in Argentina and Uruguay. Approximately 150 barges filled with 350,000 to 500,000 tons of soybeans have been stranded in Paraguay due to the low water level at the locks at the Yacyreta Dam.

Once in Argentina, most of these barges will offload their soybeans at the numerous crushing plants at the Rosario port hub. Approximately 80% of Argentina's grain exports flow through the Rosario hub and Argentina is the world's largest exporter of soybean meal and the third largest exporter of soybeans and corn.