April 21, 2009

China To Build More Dams On Yangtze River

China will construct 20 additional reservoirs in the Yangtze River system by 2020, the government announced Tuesday, regardless of mounting concerns about dam construction in the area.

The numbers were pulled from comments made by a leading water resources official referring to future plans for the Yangtze that are available on the ministry's website.

"At least 20 (new) reservoirs will be put into operation by 2020," vice minister Hu Siyi was quoted as saying. The boost was targeted specifically at further controlling the hydropower resources of the Yangtze.

A large number of dams built on the Yangtze drainage basin have been the target of serious disapproval from domestic and overseas specialists who have cautioned the country about the environmental and seismic risks.

The majority of the criticism is focused on the gigantic Three Gorges Dam project in Hubei province.

Government reports have noted that the dam's large reservoir had dumped enormous amounts of contamination into the river system and that the reservoir's mass was activating landslides.

The state-run China Daily newspaper announced Tuesday that the government's strategy was to tap 60 percent of the river's hydroelectric potential by 2030.

However, the paper also said that the multiplication of dams and reservoirs were "posing threats to the ecology of the Yangtze River."

Experts think that one of the countless dams on the Yangtze River could have caused the colossal earthquake last May that took the lives of 87,000 people.

Government officials have had no comment over these assertions.

Image Courtesy Wikipedia