Water for the La Guajira desert in the north of Colombia, South America


The region is the La Guajira desert, where more than 400,000 inhabitants are to be supplied with drinking water and electricity. The project is also supposed to secure the irrigation of the 18,000 hectare of productive land.

A decisive argument for the construction of the El Cercado dam was the weather in northern South America, where heavy rain fall and extreme drought alternate during the summer months. The dam will provide an equilibrium and „protect“ the resources at the same time.

The construction on this extensive project started in January 2006: more than 1.5 tons of dynamite were needed to create the 3,500 metre tunnel for the underground supply system and valve chamber. 6,000,000 m3 of excavated material and backfill were used to build the 116 metre high El Cercado rock-waste reservoir. At full capacity, it will store 750 million litres of water. The reservoir‘s surface will then be some 638 ha.

Twelve kilometres of pipeline with a diameter of 2.20 m and 3.5 kilometres with a diameter of 1.30 m and electric cabling for the controls were laid. Over 100 valves, more than half of which were from VAG, were installed.

The VAG EKN® Butterfly Valve DN 2500 needed  to close with a maximum flow of 14 m3/s and a throw distance of about 110 metres. The VAG KSS Hollow-Jet Discharge Valve DN 1000 needed to discharge 12 m3/s and also with a throw distance of about 110 metres.

VAG-Armaturen GmbH is represented locally by Ferrostaal de Colombia Ltda.
‚Valves from Germany have always had an excellent reputation in South America. Their high quality and long service life are particularly appreciated‘, explains Dorian Hernandez from Ferrostaal de Colombia. ‚That‘s why the contractor decided to buy VAG valves for the critical areas, such as the bottom outlet. In addition VAG offered excellent support and advice on the design of the valves we needed.‘


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