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Hydro-Electric Power Plants and Storage Dams

Amistad Dam and Power Plant, Del Rio, Texas

Amistad DamAmistad Dam is the largest of the storage dams and reservoirs built on the international reach of the Rio Grande River. The dam was dedicated in 1969 by United States President Richard M. Nixon and Mexico President Diaz Ordaz.

The primary purpose for which Amistad Dam was constructed is flood control and water conservation storage for the benefit of the United States and Mexico. The dam is 6.1 miles (10 km) long, stands 254 feet (77.4 meters) above the riverbed and consists of a concrete gravity spillway section within the river canyon flanked by earth embankments. The dam has sixteen (16) spillway gates capable of releasing 1,500,000 cubic feet (42,670 cubic meters) per second. The dam is operated and maintained jointly by the United States and Mexico Sections of the IBWC. The reservoir impounded by the dam extends up the Rio Grande River approximately 75 miles has a surface area of 65,000 acres (26,300 hectares) and a volume of 3,124,260 acre feet (3,886,578,000 cubic meters) at conservation elevation of 1117.00 feet (340.460 meters) above mean sea level. See the official Amistad Dam & Power Plant Brochure. View the Joint Report of the Technical Advisors of the IBWC regarding the Geotechnical, Electrical, Mechanical and Structural Safety of Amistad Dam.

Responsibilities include:

  1. Flood control to mitigate the effects of any flood on the loss of life and damage to property below the dam.
  2. Water conservation to make water available during times of drought for domestic and agricultural use.
  3. Operation and maintenance of dam, reservoir and project.
  4. Operation and maintenance of a hydroelectric generating plant.
  5. Monitor and collect data for the Amistad Dam Safety of Dams Program.
  6. Serves as the collection point for all river flow data from Presidio to Brownsville Texas
  7. Operate and maintain 90 flood warning, water accounting, special study, rainfall and evaporation stations.
  8. Participates in and collects samples for the Clean Rivers Program and other water quality programs.
  9. Provide the general public, local, state and federal agencies information on operations and maintenance of the project.

Falcon Dam and Power Plant, Falcon, Texas

Falcon Dam and ReservoirFalcon Dam is the lowermost major multipurpose international dam and reservoir on the Rio Grande. As an organizational unit of the U.S. Section, the function is to control and regulate the flow of international waters and to provide a means of contributing to the mutual welfare of Mexico and the United States, in compliance with various existing treaties. In conjunction with irrigation, domestic and flood releases, the project generates electricity through the hydroelectric generating plant. The project also provides support and maintenance for a small village. Click here to see the current Falcon Reservoir Storage. View the Joint Report of the Technical Advisors of the IBWC regarding the Geotechnical, Electrical, Mechanical and Structural Safety of Falcon Dam.

Functions include:

  • Control flood water in such a way as to maximize waters available to the two nations for agricultural, private and industrial use and minimize flood damage.
  • Operation and maintenance of a Hydroelectric generating plant.
  • Monitors and collects structure data for Falcon Dam Safety of Dams Program.
  • Coordinates U.S. Section operations with other U.S. and Mexican Section counterparts.
  • Serves as the control point for flood releases of internationally owned waters.
  • Responsible for the operation and maintenance of Falcon Dam and Village.
  • Maintains a License and Lease Program for all U.S. Government owned lands around the reservoir.
  • Coordinates the local state and government agencies; public and private organizations; and the general public on matters relating to the operation and maintenance of the project.
  • Operation and maintenance of river gaging stations.
  • Participates in and collects samples for the river water quality programs.

Download the official IBWC Falcon Dam and Reservoir Brochure [18MB]