El Zapotillo dam brings drinking water to Jalisco

2 December 2015

3 million people in Jalisco and Guanajuato stats will have regular access to potable water thanks to the El Zapotillo dam – one of the world’s largest Roller Compacted Concrete (RCC) dams. For this project, LafargeHolcim supplied an integrated offer including special cement, aggregates, ready-mix and roller-compacted concretes, as well as logistics and testing services.


The 107 meter-high El Zapotillo Dam stores 100 million m3 of water along the Rio Verde River in Zapotillo and is built with 649 million USD of Mexican government funding.

The dam, one of the world’s largest in Roller Compacted Concrete (RCC), has a primary objective to deliver drinking water to the cities of Guadalajara and Leon. The project also includes a water treatment plant with a pumping height of 560 meters, as well as a 145-kilometer aqueduct to Leon.

Hermes Group, one of the biggest contractors in Mexico, acted as the consortium leader, together with FCC Construction in Spain, one of the world’s largest contractors.

LafargeHolcim’s cement, aggregates, concrete and services at work

After a long tender period that required many testings and around 100 cement designs, LafargeHolcim was selected for its ability to provide its integrated solutions to the El Zapotillo project. We were able to supply a selection of materials adapted to the demanding conditions of the worksite:

  • 200,000 tons of sulfate-resistant cement, including special slag cement for RCC and readymix concretes;
  • 1.1M m3 of roller-compacted concrete, with specific placing temperatures and hydration heat
  • 180,000 m3 of ready-mix concrete, with special durability and temperature properties
  • 2.1M tons of aggregates for RCC.

To ensure supply 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, our teams in Mexico also handled on-site production with one aggregates plant, one ready-mix plant (+ 1 additional) and one RCC plant (+ 1 for back-up). We also took care of on-site storage of 1,000 tons of cement and 200,000 m3 of aggregates.

LafargeHolcim’s comprehensive integrated offer for the project also included services:

  • Logistics, for cement, aggregates and RCC
  • Pumping for ready-mix concrete
  • Testing and quality control, through the concrete lab in Mexico City and on-site technical lab

Our multi-disciplinary teams successfully catered to customer needs while limiting risk by establishing relationship at all levels of our organization with the consortium and Mexican public decision-makers, from CEO to sales representatives. We also leveraged on best practices covering key account management, project analysis and risk management.

With the El Zapotillo completed, millions of Jalisco and Guanajuato residents will finally enjoy a steady and secure supply of clean drinking water.