About 100,000 residents of the southeast area will benefit from the permanent repairs
GUAYNABO, Puerto Rico — FEMA has allocated over $2.6 million for the first phase of a project that aims to strengthen the Patillas Dam in case of a seismic event. The total cost of the project is estimated to reach $558 million, financed mostly with FEMA funds.
This initial allocation will be for the design and engineering analysis of the project and is funded through FEMA’s Hazard Mitigation Grant Program, which is designed to help communities rebuild in a way that reduces future losses associated with natural events. During this phase, an engineering analysis will be performed, including a review of existing and previous studies. Likewise, soil samples will be analyzed and information on the topography of the area will be collected.
“The recovery from Hurricane Maria provides us with an opportunity to strengthen the island's critical facilities beyond what they were before the disaster. This project marks an unprecedented investment for the island with the goal of providing these communities with a reliable dam,” said FEMA Federal Disaster Recovery Coordinator José Baquero.
Likewise, the second stage of the project will consist of permitting to ensure that the project complies with all legal and environmental standards, as well as construction work. For this, a detailed scope of work and milestone timeline, among other elements necessary for construction to begin, must first be submitted. Similarly, a geotechnical report, design drawings and a detailed plan for the operation and maintenance of the facility will be required for the second phase to begin.
The dam, built over a century ago, is part of the assets of the Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority and the construction of an embankment over the original base of the dam is planned.
For his part, Efran Paredes Maisonet, Executive Director of the Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority, said that this preliminary allocation allows the Irrigation, Dams and Reservoirs Division of the Generation Directorate to work with FEMA and COR3 in order to proceed with the required studies, plans and geological and topographical analyses. "The objective is to mitigate the elements of structural vulnerability and give resilience to the dam built in 1913, to reestablish the operational levels of the reservoir, and in turn the necessary resources for power generation, agricultural irrigation and water supply for over 100,000 people in the southeastern part of the island," Paredes Maisonet said.
To date, FEMA has approved more than $87.7 million under its Hazard Mitigation Grant Program.
“The implementation of this important project will provide resiliency to the Patillas Dam, strengthen the economic development of the agricultural sector and stabilize water service, among other benefits for the citizens of the southeastern region of Puerto Rico. This funding obligation is the result of the teamwork of our Hazard Mitigation program group, along with FEMA and the Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority. At COR3, we are committed to continue assisting in the necessary steps to achieve the development of all phases of this project. In the meantime, we continue to attend to hundreds of proposals from subrecipients in order to get FEMA to approve and obligate them on or before October 31. For these purposes, our island has an allocation of $4 billion, the largest in the United States, and we must make good use of this money through risk mitigation works, which will help us prevent major disasters in the future,” said Manuel A. Laboy Rivera, Executive Director of the Central Office of Recovery, Reconstruction and Resilience.
For more information on Puerto Rico's recovery from Hurricane María, please visit fema.gov/es/disaster/4339 and recuperacion.pr. Follow our social media pages at Facebook.com/FEMAPuertoRico, Facebook.com/COR3pr and Twitter @COR3pr.