DOCUMENT  0234-66F

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[GENTE Magazine, Vol. 1, Havana, January 5, 1958, No. 1, American Edition]

Page 66-F
PHOTO [Men inside the tunnel]


The utilization of the waters of the Hanabanilla, Guanayara, Negro, Jibacoa, Pretiles and Boquerones rivers for the building of the First Cuban Hydro-Electric Plant, has four fundamental aims, the first of which is the exportation of one of the country's most important potential sources for the production of electric energy.

The three remaining aims, according to the plan mapped out, are as follows; the promotion of industry in the region, which will be made possible by the proper utilization of cheap energy; flood control in some of the southern areas of Las Villas province, which will allow these lands to be worked and increase agricultural production, and the development of a tourist center round about the lake which will be formed by damming the waters of the Hanabanilla, Negro and Guanayara.

The above mentioned rivers are in the southern part of Las Villas province.  The lands which will be affected are situated within the municipal of Cienfuegos, Trinidad and Santa Clara, the second of these having the greatest extent of territory to be utilizated [utilized]  in the project.  The concession to exploit these hydraulic resources was granted to the "Banco de Fomento Agricola e Industrial de Cuba (BAN-FAIC) under Decree No. 1212 (Decreto-Ley 1212) as of November 26, 1953, which also authorized it to set up, as it has done, the First Cuban Hydro-Electric Plant (PRI-CHEC), an enterprise with a recognized legal identity and its own patrimony, which will

Page 66-G
PHOTO [tunnel]
PHOTO [drilling equipment]

be responsible for carrying out and managing the project.

The project has gone forward, thanks to early and continued encouragement from President Batista's government, with legislative measure to ensure the plan's being carried out in the way it was conceived.  Thanks also to the cooperation of the "Financiera Nacional" and the "Comision de Fomento Nacional", which, together with the BANFAIC, put up the original capital for the PRICHEC.  And to the guardian mediation, which harmonized everything while urging it forward, of the National Bank of Cuba, and its President, Dr. Joaquin Martinez Saenz.


According to the report made out by the Knappen-Tippetts-Abbett-McCarthy engineering firm, which undertook the survey the survey which led to the conclusion that the work was economically feasible, and whose services were later contracted in a consulting capacity, the attainment of the ends previously stated, will have important and positive effects economically on the southern part of Las Villas and the country as a whole.

The water power which the Hanabanilla plant will produce, 82 million hours kilowatt a year, will make a ten percent increase in the national production of electrical energy in this country (in 1952 the total sales of the Cuban Electricity Company were 774,652,000 hours kilowatt) and a 50 per cent increase in the production of energy for industrial use (165.8 million hours Kilowatt of sales to industrial consumers), than allowing us to reduce our dependence on imported fuel and have money for other objectives in the development of our economy.


Among the industries that could be set up in the region, there are various branches of chemical industry, based on the production of sulfuric acid; this, although it would not use much energy, might serve as a basis for the manufacture of a great  many chemical products, which would indeed utilize the energy of the Hanabanilla.

There are also good possibilities of setting up several mills for producting [producing]  paper, caustic soda, rayon, cellulose, plastic goods, vegetable oils, etc.

A type of production that might be the object of special consideration is the manufacturing of various steel articles on a basis of ("chatarra") with an output of 20,000 tons per year, which would consume 15 million hours Kilowatt a year.  The promotion of this industry would be of great importance to the region and the whole country.


As regards agricultural production, we hold that it might be made the object of important variety and increase, since flood-control in various areas of the region would allow the growing of different products.  At the present time, parts of Jibacoa Valley (400 inhabitants) are flooded several times a year, so that in spite of the good quality of the land, it cannot be adequately farmed.  As soon as the floods are controlled, many products cold be grown throughout this

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PHOTO [ditch]

zone , with all the advantages that would naturally accrue.


A point of special interest, with definite and rewarding effects on economy, will be the transformation of the region into an important tourist center; for when a lake of great beauty has been formed y the damming of the waters of the Hanabanilla, Negro and Guanayara rivers, and highways and roads have been built to make the zone fully accessible, a flood of tourists will pour in from abroad and at home, and a series of motels could be built near the lake, offering all kinds of amenities. Besides, as the mountainous zone of San Juan Trinidad surrounds the reservoir, and includes a good many spots of prime interest to tourists, a large tourist resort are could be built up all over the southern part of Las Villas province.  The lake formed by damming the Hanabanilla covers 20 Km2. And offers excellent opportunities for sport with small sailing boats and yachts, which would increase the attraction of the place.


The fundamental aim of the undertaking to be carried out, consists in diverting the flow of the Habanilla, Negro and Guanayara rivers, and storing up their joint waters in a reservoir.

As the Hanabanilla river, and the Jibacoa river –which is formed by the confluence of the Negro and Guanayara rivers– flow in opposite directions, two dams have to e made, in order to close off the water and form the reservoir.

In order to join the two river basing in the most effective way, so as to make an adequate reservoir, a canal about two kilometers long will be dug, through which the waters of the Negro river will be diverted into the basin of the Hanabanilla.  The earth extracted from the canal will be used for the embankments of the Hanabanilla and Jibacoa dams.


The method which has been adopted is that of safety, and by it the water power extracted from the volume of dammed-up water is adapted to the style of the river, thus guaranteeing an adequate supply of water during periods of dry weather when reservoirs tend to get empty.

According to calculation, this method ought to provide 1,150 gallons per second, or 69,000 per minute, that is to say approximately 100 millions gallons a day, which would be able to generate some 224,000 hours Kilowatt daily, which means 82 million hours Kilowatt annually.


According to the report made out by the firm of consulting engineers, building operations, will cost nearly fifteen millions Cuban dollars and can be completed within thirty months, that is to say, a year and a half.

In order to guarantee the quality of the work to be carried out, and get the most advantageous prices, the tasks have been assigned, through auction process, to firms with wide experience in this sort of construction.  The most modern equipment will be used, and the greatest possible number of Cubans will be employed as personnel.


In October 1955 the PRICHED signed a contract with the Cuban Electricity Company (CCE), according to which the latter acquires at a reasonable price the energy to be produced in the First Hydro-Electric Plant of the Hanabanilla.


1) Discharging Tunnel: Total Length: 6,728 meters. Excavated: 4,900 meters.
2) Feeding Well: Total Length: 256 meters. Excavation: finished in February 1957
3) Service Tunnel: Total Length: 339 meters. Excavation: finished in December 1957
4) Valve Chamber: Arch: excavation and concreting finished. Chamber: excavation in progress
5) Chamber of the Plant: Arch: Excavation finished, and concreting in progress.
6) Operator's Houses: 40% finished
7) Macagua-Hanabanilla Highway: Finished, except for the paving.
8) Auxiliary Dam No. 1: Finished
9) Auxiliary Dam NO. 2: Finished
10) Jibacoa Dam: Injection of both ("empotramientos") finished.
      1,250,000 cubic meters of embankment placed in position
      800,000 cubic meters still to be placed 11) Hanbanilla Dam:.. Injection of both ("empotramientos") finished.
      170,000 cubic meters of embankment placed in position.
      200,000 cubic meters still to be placed. 12) Canal for Diverting the river water: Finished
13) Outlet ("Vertedero"): Excavation finished.  Concrete missing.

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