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, the Panama Canal Authority (ACP) announced.
Once the basin was filled, testing was conducted on the basin’s emptying and filling system to confirm it is watertight.
The project contractor Grupo Unidos por el Canal (GUPC) will proceed now 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.
The announcements comes following the completion of the sill reinforcements in the new locks of the Panama Canal.
The so-called Cocoli’s locks sprung a leak in August 2015, and GUPC was working ever since to assess the leak and reinforce the structure.
Less than four percent remains to complete the Panama Canal Expansion Program, which is expected to be inaugurated in the second quarter of 2016.