Top-Down: San Antonio Dam, Brazil

  • Created by: Noye
  • Created on: 26-05-13 11:43

Top-Down: San Antonio Dam, Brazil


  • 20,000 jobs created
  • Education and training centre created for 100,000+ immigrants
  • Health, education, leisure, safety and sanitation infrastructure improved
  • $30 million given to improve sewage system in Porto Velho
  • Produces the cheapest electricity in Brazil
  • Better infrastructure (roads and waterways) in centre of South America, so products can be taken to Pacific or Atlantic
  • Supplies 8% of total electricity (3,150 MW)
  • Renewable
  • Fish channels allow fish to migrate
  • Two forests planted, with  $6 million made available for environmental police


  • 3,000 people displaced
  • Indigenous land at risk of flooding
  • Malaria increase
  • Build up of mercury in the food chain as a result of gold mining and less river flow
  • Madeira River Project cost $22 billion, the dam cost $5.3 billion
  • Commercial fishing at risk (worth $1 billion)
  • High fishing loads block turbines and reduce effectiveness
  • River food webs affected
  • Flooded area over 1000 km sq
  • Project fined $3.3 million for killing 11 tonnes of fish
  • Environmental Impact Assessment based on insufficient data, lacked thoroughness and no measures were taken to help solve a third of listed impacts


This is not a sustainable approach at high sediment loads will shorten the lifespan of the dam to 100 years, which is not worth the extremely high cost. The dam has the potential to increase risks to human health such as more malaria due to more water and people ingesting high levels of mercury when they eat fish from the river. The dam has created jobs and attracted people to the area, however this puts strain on the local resources and an increased population may also have negative impacts on relations with indigenous people.I don't believe local people were consulted enough in the decision making and the amount they benefited from the scheme could have been higher and the disadvantages lower.


Mr A Gibson


This is a precise case study and uses a format that is useful - print this one out and then use it to help create your own for your case studies. This actually all you need to hit level three in an exam question - facts and figures to make your answer specific to the example you are using.



some of this could be seen as false as the dam is reported to cost $5.2 billion not $5.3