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The Santo Antônio Hydropower Plant in the Brazilian state of Rondônia and the Chaglla Hydropower Plant in Peru, both built by Odebrecht, were highlighted in “Better Hydro: Compendium of Case Studies 2017,” a publication of the International Hydropower Association (IHA) in collaboration with the World Bank Group. Published in May 2017 during the World Hydropower Congress hosted in Ethiopia, the compendium presents 23 topic case studies of best practices in the industry.

HPP Santo Antônio Energia, completed in 2016 by Construtora Norberto Odebrecht and managed by Santo Antônio Energia, is featured in the report in two case studies of successful projects: the care taken with regard to Team Members and their working conditions and the environmental preservation programs adopted during the project.

Santo Antônio

With over 20,000 workers at the peak of construction, Santo Antônio was the birthplace of the Believe Program (Programa Acreditar), which is responsible for training thousands of workers from the region. The program, which later was adopted in other Odebrecht projects in Brazil and abroad, enabled local workers to be trained to work on the construction project, which reduced worker turnover, a common problem on projects of this scale. 

Worker safety was also highlighted in the study. Initiatives such as frequent training, the creation of an ombudsman, the presence onsite of representatives from the Human Resources department and the adoption of rigorous safety measures resulted in a significant reduction in the number of accidents during the project. 

In its second case study, the report presents the good practices of HPP Santo Antônio on matters related to environmental preservation during the eight years of construction. The case study shows how it is possible to better manage solid waste from both the construction site and the workers housing complex through regular monitoring, the installation of adequate treatment facilities and training programs. One successful example of these actions was the onsite recycling program, which recycled 88% of all the solid waste generated. The hydropower plant also monitored the risks of air, water and noise pollution. 

Chaglla

The Chaglla Hydropower Plant, built on the Huallaga River in Peru, also is featured in two case studies of good practices in the IHA’s compendium. The project was highlighted because of its assessment of the construction project’s social and environmental risks and for its engagement with the local communities impacted by the project. 

According to the compendium, Chaglla provides an excellent example of conducting a detailed assessment of a construction project’s social and environmental risks. All impacts from the project’s construction and operations were assessed comprehensively, an excellent channel of communication was opened with local communities and environmental factors were effectively taken into account. Among the good practices highlighted are the inclusion of external independent experts in the environmental impact assessments and the creation of a systematic reporting methodology for identifying and mitigating impacts. 

In addition to its environmental concern, the Chaglla Hydropower Plant also was highlighted in the IHA compendium for its concern with the local communities to be affected by the construction. The project required the resettlement of nine families, who were relocated to new houses built on their own land. The project also directly and indirectly employed some 5,800 people, 45% of whom were from the region. 

Independent experts were hired to assess the impacts on local communities and various workshops with residents were conducted to make sure that everyone had full knowledge of and agreed with the resettlements. 

Due to the efforts of the Odebrecht teams, the families resettled reported significant improvements in their standard of living. All families resettled were invited to participate in an agricultural technical support program, which enabled them to become self-sufficient through subsistence farming. 

Shared information

The case studies featured in the IHA publication were assessed with the help of the Hydropower Sustainability Assessment Protocol, a guide developed by the association to improve sustainability efforts in ongoing projects. According to Richard Taylor, executive director of the IHA, the tool “has brought forth some invaluable information for the sector as a whole, but until now this has not been made widely accessible. With the publication of this compendium, we are taking an important step towards sharing these examples.”

 “Better Hydro: Compendium of Case Studies 2017” is available for consultation online and its full contents can be found at https://www.hydropower.org/better-hydro-compendium-of-case-studies-2017