The Argentine and Uruguayan governments' agreement regarding environmental monitoring of the Uruguay river will facilitate a dredging project to improve navigability, the head of the river's administration commission (CARU), Gaston Silbermann, told BNamericas.
The plan, to be carried out jointly by the two countries, involves an initial project to remove 6Mm3 of sediment from the river, followed by a maintenance plan that will involve clearing 2Mm3/y of sediment from the waterway, Silbermann said.
The project will require an investment of US$30mn-40mn, based on studies carried out about eight years ago.
Work will be carried out on sections of a 348km navigable stretch of the river between Salto and Nueva Palmira.
The project will leave the Nueva Palmira port area with a 10.4m depth and plans to reach 11m at a later stage. The river will be 7.6m deep around Fray Bentos and Concepcion del Uruguay, 6m deep near Paysandu and Colon, and 3.4m deep around Salto and Concordia.
Authorities have yet to set a date to launch the project for tender. However, CARU is confident that the agreement will speed up the process, Silbermann said, adding that there is an "evident need" for the dredging work to be carried out.
The two countries finalized an agreement to jointly monitor contamination on the river last week, after seven years of conflict over the construction of the Botnia-UPM pulp mill in Uruguayan town Fray Bentos.
The Uruguay river is around 1770km long, beginning in Brazil and forming a boundary between Brazil, Uruguay and Argentina.