Venezuela uses a ROV to inspect Guri Reservoir infrastructure amidst water level decline

Venezuela’s government is taking measures to inspect the infrastructure of the country’s main hydroelectric-related civil structure as rising temperatures, reduced precipitation and increased energy demand affect water levels at the 4,000-square-mile Guri Reservoir.

Caroni River feeds the Guri Reservoir and its water level is controlled by state-owned CVG Electrification del Caroni C.A. (EDELCA). The reservoir’s maximum depth is 492 ft and its water volume is 109,446,281 acre-ft.

In EDELCA’s efforts to accurately ensure reduced water pressure is not damaging the dam, the organization is using a Saab Seaeye Falcon remotely operated vehicle (ROV) fitted with a special survey system. The ROV will inspect the dam, catchment area and its tributaries. The infrastructure is part of the world’s third largest hydroelectric facility, the 10,300-MW Guri hydroelectric project.

Underwater systems supplier Symphotic TII Corp. in Camirillo, Calif. along with MB Services of Miami, Fla., both U.S.-based companies, configured the Falcon ROV inspection package. The ROV incorporates Imagenex 881A-GS sonar with an Applied Acoustic’s Easytrak positional location system.

Compared to historical records, temperatures now are higher by about 41 degrees Fahrenheit, which has resulted in a 1,500 MW increase in demand on the country’s national electrical grid, according state electric firm Corpoelec. Guri hydroelectric project produces about 65% of the power for the Venezuelan power grid.

Published reports indicate 13% of residential consumers use about 40% of the energy available on the grid. Low reservoir levels at Guri Reservoir are placing increased pressure on electricity output.

Built in the 1960s at a cost of US$850 million, Guri Reservoir is one of the largest reservoirs on earth.

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