Guajataca Lake

Guajataca Lake

Introduction
Reservoirs are man-made lakes, whose main purpose is to store water for domestic and industrial consumption, irrigation of agricultural fields, production of electric power, and flood control during extraordinary rain. In Puerto Rico, there are no natural lakes. Our reservoirs, except for the one in Fajardo, were built in mountainous areas to retain the maximum volume of water in the smallest possible surface area; therefore, our artificial lakes are deep and their banks have a precipitous decline. They are located in areas with geological stability to ensure seismic safety. The first reservoir was built in 1913: Carite, together with the one in Patillas and Guayabal in Juana Diaz (1914) made up the first irrigation system on the south coast.

The water in reservoirs comes from rain, a river, and its tributaries. Throughout the year, rainfall varies significantly, with a dry season that normally runs from January to March or April, followed by heavy downpours in May and June, and a second period of intense rainfall from September until the end of the year. Reservoirs are the most important source of water in Puerto Rico. On the island, there are 36 major reservoirs owned by the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico as well as several smaller private ones. Of the 36 public reservoirs, 21 are considered major in terms of volume and diversity of use.

Importance of Conservation
Reservoirs perform a variety of important functions. For example they:
Store water for domestic use and irrigation.
Generate energy.
Serve as a refuge for birds and habitat for aquatic fauna (fish, shrimp and turtles); some lakes are designated as wildlife shelters.
Are recreation areas for:
navigation (kayaks, canoes and boats)
recreational and sports fishing: The DNER fish farm in Maricao reproduces sea bass and black sea bream which are later introduced in our reservoirs. In addition, you can catch catfish, tilapias and Peacock Bass in almost all reservoirs;
contemplation and recreation
they help control flooding

Threats to this resource
The following constitute a phenomena that threaten the functionality of our reservoirs.
1-Land erosions in the hydrographical basin of reservoirs, which produce sediments that reduce their water storage capacity.
2-The accumulation of pollutants, including nutrients.
3-The presence of invasive aquatic plants such as hyacinth, water lettuce and pokeweed.
4-The presence of invasive exotic animals, such as plecostomus which create cavities in lake slopes leading to erosion.
5-Extraction of water at a higher rate than what is safe for the reservoir.

Effects of reservoirs
Reservoirs could have a negative impact on native flora and fauna because dams interrupt migration of larvae and juveniles towards the estuary and from these to the mountains. Species of native fish need to be in touch with the estuaries during their reproductive stages, and reservoirs disrupt these connections because they store water where the fish are established. However, there are design and management measures that are used to minimize the impact.

Protection
The DNER regulates some aspects regarding reservoirs through special legislation, such as the Wildlife Law of the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico. The Environmental Quality Board has regulations that apply to water quality and protects this resource through projects such as reforestation of hydrographical basins and the presence of guards.

Dos Bocas Lake, Utuado

Dos Bocas Lake, Utuado

Reservoir: Caonillas
Location: Utuado
Area in square miles: 1.04
Rivers that feed it: Caonillas, Jauca, Río Grande de Jayuya, various tributaries
Uses, facilities, and owner: Power generation; owner PREPA

Reservoir: Carite
Location: Guayama
Area in square miles:.46
Rivers that feed it: La Plata, gullies, tributaries
Uses, facilities, and owner: Irrigation, power generation, water supply; owner PREPA

Reservoir: Cerrillos
Location: Ponce
Area in square miles:.82
Rivers that feed it: Bucaná
Uses, facilities, and owner: Recreational area with bathrooms and showers, gazebos, trailer parking, ramp for boats; flood control; owner DNER.

Reservoir: Cidra
Location:Cidra
Area in square miles: .41
Rivers that feed it: Bayamón, Sabana
Uses, facilities, and owner: Water supply; owner PRASA

Reservoir: Coamo
Location:Santa Isabel, Coamo
Area in square miles:
Rivers that feed it:
Uses, facilities, and owner: Irrigation; drinking water, owner Commonwealth of Puerto Rico

Reservoir: Dos Bocas
Location: Utuado, Arecibo
Area in square miles: .99
Rivers that feed it: Grande de Arecibo, Limón, Caonillas
Uses, facilities, and owner: Power generation; owner PREPA

Reservoir: El Guineo
Location: Orocovis, Ciales
Area in square miles: .07
Rivers that feed it: Toro Negro
Uses, facilities, and owner: Irrigation, power generation; owner PREPA

Reservoir: Fajardo
Location: Fajardo
Area in square miles:.117
Rivers that feed it: Fajardo
Uses, facilities, and owner: Drinking water supply; owner PREPA

Reservoir: Garzas
Location: Adjuntas
Area in square miles:.15
Rivers that feed it: Grande de Arecibo
Uses, facilities, and owner: Drinking water, power generation; owner PREPA

Reservoir: Guajataca
Location: Quebradillas, San Sebastián, Isabela
Area in square miles: 1.32
Rivers that feed it: Guajataca, its tributaries
Uses, facilities, and owner: Irrigation, drinking water. It has a DNER recreational area with bathrooms and showers, gazebos, area for scaling fish, trailer parking, ramp for boats; owner PREPA.

Reservoir: Guayabal
Location: Juana Díaz
Area in square miles:.56
Rivers that feed it: Jacaguas
Uses, facilities, and owner: Irrigation; owner Commonwealth of Puerto Rico

Reservoir: Guayo
Location: Lares, Adjuntas
Area in square miles:.45
Rivers that feed it: Guayo
Uses, facilities, and owner: Power generation, irrigation; owner PREPA

Reservoirs: La Plata
Location: Toa Alta, Naranjito, Bayamón
Area in square miles:1.16
Rivers that feed it: La Plata, various tributary gullies
Uses, facilities, and owner: Drinking water supply, DNER recreational area with bathrooms and showers, gazebos, area for scaling fish, trailer parking, ramp for boats; owner PRASA

Reservoir: Loco
Location:Yauco
Area in square miles: .11
Rivers that feed it: Yauco, its tributaries
Uses, facilities, and owner: Irrigation; owner Commonwealth of Puerto Rico

Reservoir: Loíza (Carraízo)
Location: Loíza
Area in square miles: 1.03
Rivers that feed it: Río Grande de Loíza and its tributaries
Uses, facilities, and owner: Drinking water supply; owner PRASA

Reservoirs: Lucchetti (Yauco)
Location:Yauco
Area in square miles: .42
Rivers that feed it:Yauco, its tributaries
Uses, facilities, and owner: Power generation, irrigation; drinking water supply, DNER recreational area with bathrooms and showers, gazebos, area for scaling fish, trailer parking, ramp for boats y camping site; owner PREPA

Reservoir: Matrullas
Location: Orocovis
Area in square miles: .12
Rivers that feed it: Matrullas
Uses, facilities, and owner: Power generation, irrigation; owner PREPA

Reservoir: Patillas
Location: Patillas
Area in square miles: .58
Rivers that feed it: Patillas, Marín
Uses, facilities, and owner: Irrigation; owner Commonwealth of Puerto Rico

Reservoir: Prieto
Location: Lares and Maricao
Area in square miles: .02
Rivers that feed it: Grande de Añasco
Uses, facilities, and owner: Hydroelectric; owner PREPA

Reservoir: Toa Vaca
Location: Villalba
Area in square miles: 1.24
Rivers that feed it:Toa Vaca
Uses, facilities, and owner: Drinking water supply, irrigation; owner PRASA

Reservoir: Yahuecas
Location: Adjuntas
Area in square miles: .08
Rivers that feed it: Yahuecas
Uses, facilities, and owner:Power generation, irrigation; owner PREPA

Author: Grupo Editorial EPRL
Published: August 27, 2014.

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