Field Notes III
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Notes on La Lluvia Hydroelectric dam


On 10 August 2003 we ran the Rio Fuerte to Huites (Luis Donaldo Colosio) dam. During this trip, we camped one night at the abandoned San Francisco dam. As we were setting up camp, Carmelo Gill man came by looking for cattle, the following information comes from talking with him.

 Carmelo was born in Batopilas, his father Eliseo Gill once owned the property near and until 10 years ago when it was acquired for the lake. Carmelo lives in Reforma most of the year but comes to this area to take care of his animals, they have a cabin upstream from the dam. His father, Eliseo, is of advanced age and lives in Choix,

 The dam was built for hydroelectric only. The generator and other parts were winched upriver from somewhere, probably above Choix. Two holes were drilled in the rock, one on either side of the river, metal rods were placed in the holes and cables were anchored to the rods and strung across the river. Remains of a winch and two metal sleds or boats bottoms may be seen on the right (north) side of the dam near a small water pila (a structure built of concrete to store water).

A bronze plate, which has since disappeared, indicated that the generator was made in Chicago. From its construction, it appears that it was dismantled, transported and reassembled on site. Each pole (?) of the armature and stator (?) was mounted on a separate piece of steel that could be moved independently. Many years ago, someone used a sledgehammer to cut the copper away from the steel; it was then taken away and sold for scrap.

 The dam appears to be made of granite and very well constructed. It has been broached by a meter-wide hole on the south side. Water also passes underneath the dam creating a deadly strainer for unwary boaters. High-water marks show that the dam is 40-50 feet under water when the lake is full.

 Remains of a bridge appear downstream of the dam. Upstream from the San Francisco dam, at Chorro are the remains of another structure where water was pumped from the river to the mine at Lluvia. Unfortunately, there is serious danger of assaults and robbery from people living near Chorro.

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