First Panama Canal Water-Saving Basin Filled

By Joseph R. Fonseca
Saturday, February 06, 2016
An aerial view of the newly filled water saving basin of the Aqua Clara Locks Upper Chamber Photo ACP

The Panama Canal Authority (ACP) announced that the first water-saving basin of the Agua Clara Locks’ upper chamber has been filled to the required level in order to begin a rigorous and methodical testing process.
 
Once the basin was filled, testing was conducted on the basin’s emptying and filling system to confirm it is watertight.
 
While ensuring that the quality established in the contract is met, contractor Grupo Unidos por el Canal (GUPC) will proceed with filling the remaining intermediate and lower basins.
 
For each of the three chambers in the Agua Clara and Cocoli Locks, there are a total of three water-savings basins, bringing the total to 18 basins for the new locks. Each of the basins is massive, having a surface area equivalent to 25 Olympic-size pools. And each utilizes state-of-the art technology which allows the Canal to reuse 60 percent of the water used per lockage, saving 7 percent more than the existing locks do.
 
“The water used during each lockage comes directly from Gatun Lake, Panama’s main supply of drinking water, so it is absolutely critical we manage this resource responsibly,” said Panama Canal Administrator and CEO, Jorge L. Quijano.
 
“Managing and protecting the Canal watershed is a top priority for the ACP, which is why we are proactively instituting new and innovative systems such as these water-saving basins to ensure the viability of the Canal for years to come.”

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