(Add additional details from the Itaipu statement, context)
By Rodrigo Viga Gaier
RIO DE JANEIRO, 13 May (Reuters) – The Itaipu hydroelectric dam, a joint venture between Brazil and Paraguay, said on Wednesday that it would release water through its overflow channel to increase low water levels in the Parana river, the main waterway for Argentina and Paraguay shipping grain.
The governments of Argentina, Brazil and Paraguay have been negotiating for more than a month about Itaipu, which provides potential assistance for drought and low water levels.
Hydroelectric power plants have gradually increased their electricity generation, which releases more water, even though energy demand has declined amid a new coronavirus pandemic. Spillway allows the release of additional water without producing electricity.
Itaipu said in a statement that he would initially open his spillway for 12 days starting from May 18, responding to requests from Argentina to raise water levels, in a decision supported by the foreign ministries of Brazil and Paraguay.
The Parana River carries 80% of Argentina’s agricultural exports and is at historic lows. It fell to 0.55 centimeters at one port hub in April, compared to the historic average for the 4-month month.
Reporting by Rodrigo Viga Gaier; writing by Jake Spring;
Editing by Kevin Liffey
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