A US$14M loan has been agreed by the bank to help the Ministry of Popular Power for the Environment to sustainably manage the watershed.

The bank said that the long-term objective of the programme is to enhance the hydroelectric potential of the Caroni catchment. It said that goal could be achieved by encouraging the sustainable and integrated management of local resources.

The Ministry is to use the funds primarily for institutional strengthening of those organisations in charge of the management and development of the Caroni catchment. Key aspects of the work also include protecting land rights, promoting appropriate land use practices and improving living conditions for local communities, including indigenous peoples.

Venezuela is rich in hydro power potential and under construction at present on the Caroni is the Manuel Piar Tocoma scheme, which will have an installed capacity of 2330MW and is to be completed by 2012. The client is state-owned utility CVG Electrificacion del Caroni (Edelca).

Almost two years ago the Andean Development Corp (CAF) agreed to loan US$600M over 18 years to help build the scheme.