The Chubut River (Spanish: Río Chubut, Welsh: Afon Camwy) is located in the Patagonia region of southern Argentina. Its name comes from the Tehuelche word chupat, which means "transparent". The Argentine Chubut Province, through which the river flows, is named after it. Welsh settlers called the river "Afon Camwy," meaning "twisting river" in English.
The river is generally shallow and its water flow can vary from 4 to 400 m³/s between drought and flood. Average discharge is about 60 m³/s. Flooding made the lands beside the river fertile and important for agriculture. The river is a popular trout fishing destination.
The river flows eastwards for approximately 800 kilometres (500 mi), from the Andes to the Atlantic Ocean, emptying at Engaño Bay near Rawson. The main arm of the Chubut originates in Carreras, Río Negro Province, and its basin covers a large area of the western Andean foothills between Bariloche and Esquel. It is also fed by the Chico River. The many branches join some distance before the small town of Piedra Parada, where the terrain becomes the flat plain characteristic of Argentinian Patagonia. It flows east and passes by the town of Paso del Sapo, where it turns southeast through relatively unpopulated central Chubut. It meets Highway 25 and turns east once again.
A 255 m (837 ft) long concrete dam blocks the river some 120 kilometres (75 mi) west of Trelew. This dam, named after palaeontologist Florentino Ameghino, was designed in 1943 by engineer Antonio Domingo Pronsato; work started on 19 April 1963. The artificial lake covers 70 square kilometres. The plant, which uses a 56 m (184 ft) high waterfall with a flow of 150 m³/s (5,300 ft³/s) and three turbines, provides energy to Pico Truncado, Caleta Olivia, Comodoro Rivadavia, and the lower Chubut Valley.
In the 19th century, Welsh settlers arrived in Chubut and established a colony, "Y Wladfa"/"Colonia Gales", in the valley of the Chubut river. Today, the Welsh language and Welsh tea houses are common in several towns, many of which have Welsh names. Dolavon and Trelew are examples of Welsh towns.
- ^ Berresford Ellis, Peter (1983). The Celtic revolution: a study in anti-imperialism. Talybont: Y Lolfa. pp. 175–176. ISBN 0-86243-096-8. http://books.google.com/books?id=cfQRcvqSW7UC&pg=PA176&dq=%22Y+Wladfa%22&hl=en&ei=JHnxTKLJNaqqhAfrj8GDDA&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=2&ved=0CCgQ6AEwAQ#v=onepage&q=%22Y%20Wladfa%22&f=false. Retrieved 13 May 2011.