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Peru invests in massive irrigation project to bring fresh water to its arid west coast

All photos by Enrique Castro-Mendivil / Reuters

Workers put together a pipeline during the construction of the Olmos Irrigation Project in Peru's northwestern region of Lambayeque, March 15, 2013.

A worker guides a section of pipe into place during construction of the Olmos Irrigation Project.

Reuters reports

Next year, the Olmos Irrigation Project will start pumping billions of gallons of water onto a nearby 170-square-mile patch of desert in the Olmos Valley near the Pacific coast. The $500 million project is the most ambitious yet in a handful of massive irrigation works that are turning large swaths of Peru’s historically parched coast into profitable agricultural fields. Odebrecht Construction drilled a 12-mile tunnel through the Andes to pull water from where it has always been abundant - the Amazon watershed to the east - to the arid west coast of Peru that is home to two-thirds of the population and 80 percent of economic activity but only 2 percent of its freshwater.

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Section of pipe are stockpiled in Peru's northwestern region of Lambayeque.