Paraná River
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The Paraná River (from Tupi para: "sea" and na: "looks like or as," meaning "that resembles the sea" or "like the sea") is the main forming river of the Plate Basin. When considered in its total length until the mouth of the River Plate, in Buenos Aires, it is the eighth largest river in the world with 4,880 km extension – – and the largest in South America after the Amazon. It is also the tenth largest in the world in flow, draining much of South-Central South America, including part of five states of Brazil. Its river basin covers more than 10% of the Brazilian territory.

Two major rivers – Grande and Paranaiba, which drain part of the water from the states of Goias, Minas Gerais, and Sao Paulo forming the Paraná River from their confluence. Tiete, Paranapanema and Iguaçu rivers are its main tributaries, all in the left bank. The Parana River, in its upper stretch, limits the states of São Paulo and Mato Grosso do Sul. Until its incursion into Argentine territory, four hydroelectric power plants-Jupia, Ilha Solteira, Porto Primavera, and Itaipu bar its course.

In its path, just after the confluence with the River Paranapanema, Parana also waters the state of same name. It limits the border between Brazil and Paraguay - exactly where Itaipu Reservoir was formed - for 190 km further downstream, to the mouth of the Iguaçu River.

In this stretch, it is worth noting a sub-basin of high interest to Itaipu, which drains part of the hydrographic network of the Parana state territory directly to its reservoir: the Parana River Basin III. It has 8,000 km2 and encompasses all or part of 28 municipalities in the state.

The Parana River from the mouth of the Iguaçu River becomes the natural boundary between Paraguay and Argentina. At the confluence of the Paraguay River, the river passes to water exclusively Argentine lands, draining into the River Plate, naming this important basin. When receiving also the waters of the Uruguay River, forms the fourth basin of the world: the Plate basin, with 3,190,000 km2.

Paraná River - Permanence of Inflow to Itaipu

The regulation upstream permits flows greater than 8,000 m³/s ninety percent of the time.

Regulated inflow monthly average to Itaipu - Period 1983 to 2020

Drainage Basin (km²)

Up to the confluence with the Paranapanema River 673,000
Incremental (from the confluence to the dam) 147,000
Total 820,000

Lenght of the Paraná River/Prata River (km)


Paranaíba 1,200
Confluence of Paranaíba and Grande rivers up to Guaíra 500
Guaíra up to the mouth of th Iguazu River 190
Mouth of the Iguazu River to the Paraguay River confluence 690
Mouth of the Iguazu River up to the Prata estuary 1,720
Total 4,300

Weather (in the drainage basin)


Average annual rainfall (mm) 1,400
Average annual evaporation (mm) 1,200

Weather (on the power plant area)


Mean annual rainfall (mm) 1,650
Mean annual evaporation (mm) 1,000

Mean annual temperature (Cº)  22


Maximum ambient temperature (Cº)  40
Minimum ambient temperature (Cº) -4

Flows in the Influence Watershed (from January 1983 to December 2015)

Monthly mean at Itaipu (m³/s) 


Maximum – June 1983 33,064
Minimum – May 2020 6,765

Daily mean at Itaipu (m³/s)


Mean of the period 11,659
Maximum – June 15, 1983 39,790
Mínima – May 7, 2020 6,006

Daily mean at confluence with Iguazu River (m³/s)


Mean of the period 14,080
Maximum – May 31, 1992 49,240

Minimum – May 9, 2020


Monthly mean Iguazu River at the Capanema Station (m³/s)


Maximum – July 1983 12,176
Minimum – August 2006 250

Daily mean (m³/s)


Mean the period 1,904
Maximum – July 10, 1983 28,799
Minimum – October 12, 1988 134
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