Ituango Hydroelectric Project Driving Rural Development In Western Antioquia
Six Antioqueño communities in the area of influence of EPM’s Ituango Hydroelectric project stand to benefit from commitments made by EPM’s CEO Juan Esteban Calle Restrepo, and Medellin’s mayor Anibal Gaviria Correa. The two principals laid out those commitments at a meeting held last Thursday in the Liborina Coliseum along with Antioquia Governor Sergio Fajardo Valderrama, IDEA Manager Alejandro Granada Zapata, and the mayors of the communities of Liborina, Peque, Buriticá, Olaya, Santa Fe de Antioquia, and Sabanalarga.
Health, roads, housing, education, employment, public services, improved institutionalization, and recreation are the areas that have been promised shares of the $1.8 billion ($600 million USD approx.) investment associated with building the Ituango dam and power generation facility.
- Sabanalarga, Santa Fé de Antioquia, Olaya, Buriticá, Peque, and Liborina are the towns that are within the project’s investment zone.
- A public accounting was held last Thursday outlining the project’s progress, and outlining the benefits promised to the affected communities.
- Specifics were offered regarding investments in housing, public services, employment, education, roads, and health.
CEO of EPM Juan Esteban Calle Restrepo said at the event: “The Ituango Hydroelectric Project has become an example of the integration of a public work with the territory and its people; a beacon of hope that generates more and newer opportunities for everyone. This is a historic occasion for the region’s wellbeing and development.
Commitments made as part of the Ituango Project according to EPM:
- Education – 2 new schools were built, and 31 were improved.
- Roads – 629km of roads were improved.
- Health – 6,613 families received primary healthcare, and 81 schools received the “healthy schools” designation.
- Productive Projects – In 164 rural paths throughout the area, 4,029 families participate in “productive projects” and 12 social organizations are beneficiaries of family agriculture projects.
- Institutionalism – More than 250 people that live in the west and north of Antioquia study in the School of Human Rights. Access to justice services in the region
- Participatory Budget Planning – 34 projects were prioritized in the indicated communities.
- Public Services – 1,880 families now have natural gas in Liborina, Olaya, and the Sucre Township, Sabanalarga, and those living along the route towards Sabanalarga. In Santa Fe de Antioquia, now there are 2.830 families that have EPM natural gas, through 11 commercial outlets.
- Rural Electrification – EPM, through the Antioquia Illuminated program has connected 4,797 families in rural Antioquia to electrical services.
- Water and Sewage Services – Improvements have been made in the water and sewage systems servicing all six municipalities.
- Housing – 435 families have benefitted from housing improvements, or new homes. Of these, 100 have involved the Aldeas de EPM program, which repurposes the mature woods harvested from the reservoir areas.
- Employment – The Ituango Hydroelectric Project has generated 7,000 direct jobs, of which 2,200 are in the six affected municipalities, and 20,000 indirect jobs. 329 of these jobs are held by residents of western Antioquia that work directly for the project. Another 373 jobs have been created by the additional investment in social infrastructure.
- Synthetic Football Pitches – Liborina, Peque, Buriticá, Olaya, Santa Fe de Antioquia, and Sabanalarga are already enjoying new Astroturf soccer fields sponsored by EPM, to promote sport, a healthy lifestyle, and civic spirit.
- Goods and Services – EPM and Ituango contractors are purchasing an estimated $32 billion COP of goods and services in the region, spurring the local economy and benefitting local businesses.
The $3.5 billion COP Ituango Hydroelectric Project is 33% complete, and will provide 17% of Colombia’s anticipated electrical demand of 2,400 megawatts in the year 2022.