La Houille Blanche
Number 7, Octobre 1998
|Page(s)||65 - 75|
|Published online||01 August 2009|
L'eau et l'argent à Potosi (ancien Haut-Pérou puis Bolivie)
ORSTOM-SENAMHI, Cochabamba, Bolivie
2 Universidad Autónoma Tomás Frías, Potosi, Bolivie
3 Étudiant à l'Albert-Ludwig Universität, Fribourg, Allemagne
The mining city of Potosi located in the arid zone of the Andes range has an exceptional heritage of industrial arrcheology with a factory of silver mineral trituration, its mill and other hydraulic installations. However, the Potosi particularity is to keep efficient the water network built by the Spaniards between the XVIth and the XVIth centuries and especially a complicated tank system of twenty lakes. The Viceroy Francisco de Toledo ordered in 1572 these pharaonic works - the tanks are located between 4300 mand 4800 m above sea level - to adapt the production of silver to the diminution of the quality of the veins and so Toledo pushed to adopt an advanced technology coming from Mexico which needed important and permanent quantities of water: the ''patio''. So, all trituration factories - more than eighty in 1633 - were located close to the artificial channel, the so-called Ribera de la Vera Cruz which has been crossing the city since 1575. The Ribera became the economical center of the richest city in the World and the most populated town of America at the beginning of the XVIIth century (160 000 inhabitants in 1611). This hydraulic masterpiece was completely restored by the North-American engineer William E. Rudolph in the thirties to provide huge quantities of water to the factories during the tin mining boom. Actually, the Ribera still crosses Potosi and its water is used by thirty small factories of lead, silver, zinc, and tin.
© Société Hydrotechnique de France, 1998
Current usage metrics show cumulative count of Article Views (full-text article views including HTML views, PDF and ePub downloads, according to the available data) and Abstracts Views on Vision4Press platform.
Data correspond to usage on the plateform after 2015. The current usage metrics is available 48-96 hours after online publication and is updated daily on week days.
Initial download of the metrics may take a while.