Dam Development in Tibet Affecting Downstream Nations

Via The Tibetan Plateau blog, a report on dam development in the Tibetan areas of Brahmaputra and Mekong that will impact downstream nations.  As the article notes:

1. Brahmaputra (Yarlung Tsangpo), one of the last two free-flowing, undammed major rivers in Tibet, AND China, is also being dammed. Salween is the other major river that environmentalists tried to save from dam projects but to no avail. A China Daily story yesterday acknowledged that the “Zangmu Water Power Station” is on the main stream of the middle reaches of Brahmaputra. Sources tell me that there are five dams planned in this section of the river, and construction has been going on since 2006. This means there is no undammed major river in China and Tibet. The installed capacity of ‘Zangmu Water Power Station’ will be 510 MW (85 MW x 6 turbines). The project is located in Lhokha (Shannan) Prefecture of Tibet Autonomous Region, about 140 km southeast from Lhasa, between Zangs-Ri (Sangri) and rGya-Tsha (Jiacha) counties. Construction work on the first dam is likely to start soon. Huaneng, China’s top power company, is backing the financing of the project and, Gezhouba, one of China’s biggest dam construction companies, will build the project. This news should be particularly alarming for people living in downstream countries of India and Bangladesh. China is likely to approve more dam projects on the Brahmaputra this year.

2. In March 2007, Tibet Environment Bureau approved another five dams on the headwaters of Mekong (Zachu) in Chamdo Prefecture. China has already built several dams on the Mekong in Yunnan Province that have impacted downsteam ecology and livelihoods. The Mekong River flows into Thailand, Burma, Cambodia, Laos and Vietnam. This time, however, authorities have released the Environmental Impact Assessment report of the Zachu dams. As far as I know, this is the first time China has released EIA of dam projects on transboundary rivers.

The total installed capacity of the five dams will be 510 MW. The names of five dams are (all in Chinese): Dhongzhong, Guoduo, Xiangda, Ruxi and Linchang. These dams are located close to each other, around 31 degree North latitude and 97 degree East longitude. This is a low population rural area at an altitude about 4,335 meters (14,225 feet). Dhongzhong and Guoduo are located near Tsher-dBad (ཚེར་དབད་ / Cerwai’ in Pinyin) township, Xiangda is located near Re-Thong (རེ་ཐོང་ / Retong in Pinyin) township. Ruxi and Linchang are located near Ru-bZhi (རུ་བཞི་ / Ruxi in Pinyin) township.

This entry was posted on Tuesday, March 31st, 2009 at 7:33 pm and is filed under Bangladesh, China, India, Mekong River, Tibet.  You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed.  Both comments and pings are currently closed. 

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