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Amaila Falls

Amaila Falls
Amaila Falls / Ministry of Public Infrastructure, screenshot from Youtube video

WorldBlue  In short

It seems that the fate of beautiful Amaila Falls is decided – after some years the water from this waterfall will be diverted to Amaila Falls Hydroelectric Power Plant.

4.1 out of 10 stars 41.3%

GPS coordinates
5.3725 N 59.5463 W
Location, address
South America, Guyana, Potaro-Siparuni, Kuribrong River below the confluence with Amaila River (left bank tributary)
Alternate names
Amalia Falls
Height
˜ 60 m
Width
˜ 45
Volume
64 m³ / s

Map of the site

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WorldYellow In detail

Mighty falls

The powerful Kuribrong River has many waterfalls – below the Amaila Falls are Waiteur Falls (20 km downstream), Karowa Satowa Falls, and Mona Falls (40 km), Embiparu Fall (80 km), Portage Falls (115 km). But the most impressive by far is Amaila Falls.

Here the immense power of water has carved a ridge in the hard sandstones of the Roraima Formation. The mighty stream is collected in this ridge and then it suddenly falls into the abyss. The mighty stream falls 60 m and thunders against giant blocks of sandstone and conglomerate.

Kuriboring River here has formed a shady, misty gorge. After the main falls the stream flows down along a steep slope. Over the distance of some 3.5 km, the river drops for 365 m (including the falls).

Waterfall serves as a natural barrier for aquatic life – below the falls in the river live 52 species of fish, but above it – only 7.

In remembrance of Amelia

The rainforest around Kuribrong in this area is inhabited by Patamona people. It is very sparsely populated – in the 19th century this was an area of frequent skirmishes and as a result, this region was depopulated.

The mighty waterfall is revered by locals – but it does not have such importance to them as the majestic Kaieteur 23 km to the south.

White people came here for diamonds and gold – but the presence of civilization is not much felt yet.

Waterfall got its current name in the late 19th century – it was named after a local girl Amelia, who disappeared in this forest.

Power plant

Guyana is looking for a possibility to harness its powerful rivers and gain cheap energy. The country is very rich with beautiful waterfalls – thus many locals do not see it as a big loss if one of these falls is lost.

Research of the site started already in the 1970s – but the long bureaucratic fights and political faltering have delayed the project for decades.

Now the officials of Guyana seem to be serious about the project. The planned energy capacity of the power station is 165 MW, costs of the whole project – around 840 million USD.

There will be serious interference in nature – the stream will be diverted, leaving the falls almost dry. The power transmission line will be built through the rainforest towards Georgetown and nearby mines, roads will be constructed.

Well, who are we, Europeans to criticize Guyana – we should look first at what’s left of pristine nature in Europe. But – it’s a pity anyway.

References
  1. Amaila Hydropower ESIA Update. January 2011. Accessed on 2 April 2012
  2. Maurice Veecock, Presentation on Amaila Hydroelectric Reservoir Capacity.
Amaila Falls are included in the following lists and articles:

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