São Francisco River Behind Two Hydroelectric Plants, Brazil – December 5th, 20099S 38.2W
Sun glint causes this segment of the São Francisco River, in Brazil, to appear a whitish-silvery color. With a length of 3,160 kilometres, it is the fourth largest river system in South America and the longest river wholly within Brazil. The section visible here marks the border between the states of Pernambuco (above), Bahia (below) and Alagoas (lower right).
This segment appears particularly wide due to several dams. The river’s hydroelectric potential started being harnessed in 1955, when the Paulo Afonso dam was built between Bahia and Alagoas. The Paulo Afonso plant now provides electric power for the whole of Northeastern Brazil.
Three other large hydroelectric plants were later built: Três Marias in Minas Gerais, built in 1961, Sobradinho in Bahia, built in 1977, and Luiz Gonzaga (Itaparica), between Bahia and Pernambuco, in 1988. Both the Paulo Afonso and Luiz Gonzaga (Itaparica) plants are located in the lower right part of the image.