Last update:

Chone Multipurpose dam on Rio Grande, Ecuador

Promoted for development and flood control, the complex water deviation infrastructure will likely favor other industries and disrupt local productive agriculture. The dam was finalized in 2015.


In 2009 the Ecuadorian government announced the beginning of the Chone Multi-purpose Project in coastal province of Manabi. This project, first conceived since the late '70s, encompasses several infrastructure works included a dam in the Rio Grande. This latter project would flood some 6,000 ha of farmland and cause the displacement of up to 2,500 peasant families [3]. According to the Ecuadorian government the project is aimed at protecting the city of Chone from flooding. However, comuneros argue that the proposed dam rather than avoiding the periodic floods, it will cause more problems as the ground is not suitable for the construction of any large-scale infrastructure. Moreover, they argue that there are other options more effective and with less social impacts. 

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Basic Data
Name of conflict:Chone Multipurpose dam on Rio Grande, Ecuador
State or province:Manabi
Location of conflict:Chone
Accuracy of locationHIGH (Local level)
Source of Conflict
Type of conflict. 1st level:Water Management
Type of conflict. 2nd level:Dams and water distribution conflicts
Specific commodities:Water
Project Details and Actors
Project details

The dam will be as 57 meters of high and a water capacity of 113 million cubic meters.

Project area:6,000
Level of Investment:80,000,000 [2]
Type of populationRural
Affected Population:240 families according to official figures [1]; people say at least 2500 are affected [3]
Start of the conflict:2009
Company names or state enterprises:Tiesijun-Manab company from China - contruction company
SENAGUA from Ecuador - state agency
Relevant government actors:Ecuadorian government, National Secretariat for Water , Agriculture Ministry, Environment Ministry, Mayor of Chone
International and Finance InstitutionsInternational Labour Organization (ILO) from Switzerland
Environmental justice organizations (and other supporters) and their websites, if available:Fundacion Regional Asesora en Derechos Humanos-Inredh (Regional Human Rights Advisory Foundation), Accion Ecologica
Conflict & Mobilization
IntensityHIGH (widespread, mass mobilization, violence, arrests, etc...)
Reaction stagePREVENTIVE resistance (precautionary phase)
Groups mobilizing:Farmers
Indigenous groups or traditional communities
Forms of mobilization:Blockades
Development of alternative proposals
Involvement of national and international NGOs
Inhabitants stopped selling their agriculture products in the city of Chone
Environmental ImpactsPotential: Biodiversity loss (wildlife, agro-diversity), Desertification/Drought, Food insecurity (crop damage), Deforestation and loss of vegetation cover, Large-scale disturbance of hydro and geological systems
Health ImpactsPotential: Malnutrition
Socio-economical ImpactsVisible: Militarization and increased police presence, Violations of human rights
Potential: Displacement, Loss of livelihood, Land dispossession
Project StatusIn operation
Conflict outcome / response:Repression
Local inhabitants (peasants called montubios in the coast of Ecuador) claim a right to previous consultation.
Development of alternatives:Local communities have presented the Ecuadorian government different alternatives options in order to avoid the construction of the dam. The two most important are:
-The removal or modification of the Simbocal Dam. This dam is located in the lower basin of the Chone river and it does not allow to percolate water flows properly which entails increasing sedimentation.
- The restoration of Chone estuary, specifically the lower basin (until the Simbocal dam) which has been severely transformed during the previous decades mainly as consequence of the installation of thousands of shrimp-farming ponds.
Do you consider this an environmental justice success? Was environmental justice served?:No
Briefly explain:Local alternative proposals have been rejected without considering them and any act of protest is repressed by the government.
Sources & Materials
Related laws and legislations - Juridical texts related to the conflict

Ecuadorian constitution

Ley Organica del Sistema Nacional de Contratacion Publica (Organic Law of State Contract)

References to published books, academic articles, movies or published documentaries

[1] Boelens et al. 2018. Water Justice. Cambridge University Press
[click to view]

Anchundia, Alexandra. 2012. Analisis de violacion de derechos Poblacin Rio Grande frente al proyecto de Proposito Multiple Chone. In: (last access march 15, 2012).
[click to view]

Links to general newspaper articles, blogs or other websites

[5] Periódico Intag - Desalojo en Río Grande
[click to view]

Grupo Inhisa
[click to view]

[3] Río Grande se opone a represa

NOV, 30, 2008 |
[click to view]

[2] Andes - Ecuador inaugurates a multipurpose project in coastal province
[click to view]

[4] Petición de Salvalaselva
[click to view]

[click to view]

Related media links to videos, campaigns, social network

[click to view]

Other documents

Police presence in Chone area Source:
[click to view]

Meta information
Contributor:Sara Latorre
Last update08/05/2019
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