The Panama Canal signed a contract with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) for consulting and technical advisory services for the Water Projects Program, which aims to achieve an optimized water management system, focused on supplying this resource to the population and the waterway.
Last June, the Canal reformulated the tender model for the construction and commissioning of the optimized water management system, in response to the suggestions presented by interested companies during the prequalification process.
The program consists of a portfolio of projects that will provide a solution to the supply of raw water for more than half of the country’s population concentrated in the provinces of Panama, Colón and Panama Oeste, as well as for the operation of the Canal, considering sustainable development, climate scenarios and growth projections.
USACE will provide special services of review of the studies carried out, as well as the identification and realization of those required to evaluate the possible alternatives, development of models and simulations, and prepare conceptual designs, among other activities of the program.
USACE and the Panama Canal
Both entities signed in 2019 an agreement for cooperation and technical assistance for the development of engineering services, environmental sustainability, operation, disaster damage reduction, and risk analysis of integrated water resources management, among other activities.
USACE has knowledge and detailed information on the hydrology and operation of the Panama Canal. In 1997, they developed a study of the infrastructure of the Panama Canal, prior to its transfer to Panamanian hands, which allowed the formulation of a master plan that identified more than 800 tasks that were necessary to execute in order to transfer it to Panamanian administration under the appropriate conditions.
Since then, they have participated in the analysis, maintenance and improvements of the waterway, accumulating experiences and knowledge that are strategic for the program, including evaluation projects on water supply alternatives to meet the operating needs of the Canal and participation in the conceptual design of the Third Set of Locks in the Atlantic, among others.
USACE provides technical assistance in more than 100 countries around the world, including the maintenance of more than 700 dams, 24,000 kilometers of levees, 21,000 kilometers of ports and canals, and 240 locks in the United States, where it is primarily responsible for the maintenance of river hydraulic structures.
By constitutional mandate, the Panama Canal has the responsibility of ensuring the administration, maintenance, use and conservation of the water resources of its watershed, within which are the Gatun and Alhajuela reservoirs, main sources of water for the population of the country and the transit of ships.
The Water Projects Program is aimed at guaranteeing sustainable development and long-term business viability.