Local April 10, 2014 | 9:03 am

Dominican Republic harnesses ‘just 36% of its water’

Santo Domingo.- Dominican Republic can’t afford the expensive “luxury” of continuing to harness just 36% of its surface waters and let the other 64% go to waste, canals and dams agency (INDRHI) director Olgo Fernández warned Wednesday

He said in the same manner the country is focused on improving education it should also do so to control it waters, which he calls one of the country’s main assets, both for human consumption and agro.

Fernández cautions that at some point the governments will have to launch a push to build dams and noted the steps being taken in that direction.

As an example the official cites the dam at Monte Grande which he calls the megaproject of the South, and the "southerners’ subway," whose capacity is 500,000 cubic meters per second.

"Our ‘subway’ has started and won’t stop until April 30, 2016, when it’s expected to conclude. Since its inception Monte Grande is conceived as a multiple project because the entire complex has two components which must be conclude jointly," the official said quoted by elcaribe.com.do.

First component; reconstruction of Sabana Yegua Dam still unfinished since 1978, damaged by Hurricane David, and which controls rivers Grande, La Cueva and South Yaqu. “Each one arrives as a fury with high flooding, endangering the reservoir precisely because it is not finished.” According to the head of INDRHI it is 94% concluded and slated to operate at full capacity by August 8.

The second component is Monte Grande, whose floodgates were moved 3 km upstream to better exploit a basin.

“We’ve been building the detouring tunnel since February 2013 and the project, which began in 2009 didn’t even count with an environmental impact study,” Fernández said, adding that in includes a housing complex where technician sand workers will live during the next 30 months. “We’re committed to inaugurate Monte Grande on April 30, 2016.”

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