"Too Much Water to Use!" Top 5 Page for this destination Foz do Iguaçu Things to Do Tip by Bwana_Brown
Foz do Iguaçu Things to Do: 97 reviews and 189 photos
The Rio Parana is about the same size as the Mississippi River in the USA in terms of water flow, and is second only to the Amazon for drainage area in South America. As a result, the flows into the headpond of the dam very often exceed what is needed for maximum electrical output from the hydro generators.
Once that flow level is exceeded, the excess water is diverted away from the power house and discharged directly into the Rio Parana below the dam (otherwise it would come right over the top of the dam - and that would not be good!). The photo shows this 'spillway' complex where three huge concrete chutes channel the water down to the edge of the Parana. The spillways were designed to handle an excess water flow equal to 40 times the average flow of the nearby Iguazu Falls! In this case, we were in a lower flow period so only one of the three chutes was in action, but it was putting on quite a display as the man-made waterfall shot up into the air before plunging into the river! The reason for shooting the water into the air is to prevent erosion at the foot of the spillway by taking some of the 'downhill' energy out of the stream of water. Of course, it also never hurts to combine more oxygen into the river water for the benefit of downstream fish life!
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