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Chalillo Dam reservoir reaches maximum storage due to heavy rains; potential flooding averted, spillage will be controlled, says Fortis Belize

Posted: Sunday, September 4, 2022. 3:47 pm CST.

Photo Credit: Richard Bracken/Ambergris Caye.com

By Aaron Humes: Fortis Belize, formerly the Belize Electric Company Limited (BECOL), is advising that there should be no fear of spilled flood waters affecting communities on the Macal River as a result of the Chalillo Dam reaching maximum storage capacity.

In a statement, the company said torrential rains from multiple weather systems over the past two weeks caused reservoir levels at the dam to rise and now the first stage of the “ogee spillway” as it is referred to has become active.

Chalillo, the oldest of the three dams along the Macal, is designed with a three-stage overflow spillway to accommodate excess flood waters and allow them to naturally overflow, and the level of flood waters is within the design limits of Chalillo and its younger cousins Mollejon and Vaca. Fortis maintains all three dams are operating normally and apart from its environmental valve opened on occasion to keep the Macal flowing naturally, there are no other mechanisms to deliberately release water stored in the Chalillo reservoir.

The dams are intended to act to reduce frequent, severe, catastrophic flooding from extreme weather events. They are located far enough away from the main population centers along the Macal, such as San Ignacio Town, that Fortis can provide advance warning to the National Emergency Management Organization (NEMO) of potential flood waters coming over the spillways and continuing downstream to populated centers.

Fortis assures that all necessary safety measures are in place to ensure the safety and wellbeing of communities downstream of its operations, including close coordination and collaboration with NEMO, particularly during storms and other extreme weather events.


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