Chubut River (Spanish: Río Chubut, Welsh: Afon Camwy) is located
Patagonia region of southern Argentina. Its name comes from the
Tehuelche word chupat, which means "transparent". The Argentine Chubut
Province, through which the river flows, is named after it. Welsh
settlers called the river "Afon Camwy", meaning "twisting river".
The river is generally shallow and its water flow can vary from 4 to
400 cubic metres per second (140 to 14,130 cu ft/s) between
drought and flood. Average discharge is about 60 cubic metres per
second (2,100 cu ft/s).
Flooding made the lands beside the river fertile and important for
agriculture. The river has great importance for the agricultural and
general economy of the province. There were several attempts to create
dams near the two townships of Rawson and Gaiman. The
Chubut River has
a very rare characteristic being higher than the land around it which
is mostly arid. Wheat farming was the chief crop and mainstay of the
agricultural and commercial resource of Patagonia. At this time the
settlers were struggling with finance as they were using sterling,
which was in very short supply. Wheat and barley became a more readily
available material to trade with. The control of water for irrigation
became even more important to newly arriving settlers who were
allocated parcels of land or "chacras" issued by the Argentine
government in the lower part of the valley. In 1882, following a very
bad harvest in 1881 a scheme of irrigation ditches from a new canal
would ensure consistent watering of crops and deal with the vagaries
of the flow of the Chubut. This was key to the survival of the whole
Chubut valley. The construction of the canal and irrigation system was
overseen by a young Welshman, E. J. Williams. His meticulous planning
created a detailed system of ditches and channels according to an
agreed size and fee structure with the settlers. These landowners dug
the channels themselves with simple tools.
The river is also a popular trout fishing destination.
2 Hydroelectric power
The river flows eastwards for approximately 800 kilometres
(500 mi), from the
Andes to the Atlantic Ocean, emptying at
Engaño Bay near Rawson. The main arm of the Chubut originates in
Carreras, Río Negro Province, and its basin covers a large area of
the western Andean foothills between
Bariloche and Esquel. It is also
fed by the Chico River. The many branches join some distance before
the small town of Piedra Parada, where the terrain becomes the flat
plain characteristic of Argentinian Patagonia. It flows east and
passes by the town of Paso del Sapo, where it turns southeast through
relatively unpopulated central Chubut. It meets Highway 25 and turns
east once again.
Florentino Ameghino Dam
A 255-metre (837 ft) long concrete dam blocks the river some 120
kilometres (75 mi) west of Trelew. This dam, named after
paleontologist Florentino Ameghino, was designed in 1943 by engineer
Antonio Domingo Pronsato; work started on 19 April 1963. The
artificial lake covers 70 square kilometres (27 sq mi). The
plant, which uses a 56-metre (184 ft) high waterfall with a flow
of 150 cubic metres per second (5,300 cu ft/s) and three
turbines, provides energy to Pico Truncado, Caleta Olivia, Comodoro
Rivadavia, and the lower Chubut Valley.
In the 19th century, Welsh settlers arrived in Chubut and established
Y Wladfa (Spanish:Colonia Gales) in the valley of the
Chubut river. Today, the
Welsh language and Welsh tea houses are
common in several towns, many of which have Welsh names.
Trelew are examples of Welsh towns.
^ Skinner, Kenneth (1984). Railway in the Desert (1 ed.). National
Library of Wales, Aberystwyth: Beechen Green Books. p. 40-41.
ISBN 0 9509957 0 3.
^ Berresford Ellis, Peter (1983). The Celtic revolution: a study in
anti-imperialism. Talybont: Y Lolfa. pp. 175–176.
ISBN 0-86243-096-8. Retrieved 13 May 2011.
Coordinates: 43°42′0″S 66°29′0″W / 43.70000°S
66.48333°W / -4