BEIJING — The water level in China's Three Gorges Dam reached full capacity Tuesday for the first time since the world's biggest hydroelectric project began generating power in 2008, state media said.
The amount of water in the dam's reservoir along the Yangtze river, China's longest, reached its design capacity of 175 metres (577 feet) early Tuesday morning, Cao Guangjing, project head told Xinhua news agency.
Cao called the high water mark "a milestone in the construction of the gigantic reservoir," which will allow the dam to fulfill its flood control, power generation and navigational functions.
Construction of the controversial 22.5 billion dollar dam began in 1993, but water storage in the 600-kilometre-long (372 mile) reservoir only started in 2003, the report said.
In 2008 when the dam began to generate power, the water level in the reservoir had reached 172.8 metres.
About 1.4 million people were displaced to make way for the dam project, the construction of which put several heritage sites deep underwater.
Critics of the dam have long warned of environmental pollution and geological hazards along the massive reservoir.
During the first six months of power generation, landslides and mudflows caused by rising and falling waters behind the dam forced the relocation of an
additional 28,000 people, Xinhua said at the time.
In August, the English-language China Daily reported that layers of trash and debris were building up in the reservoir, threatening to jam the massive dam.
According to the Three Gorges Project Corporation, the dam currently operates 26 generators with a total designed capacity of 84.7 billion kilowatt-hours of electricity annually.
Another six generators are under construction and expected to go into operation in 2012.________________________________________________ You received this message as a subscriber on the list: firstname.lastname@example.org To be removed from the list, please visit: http://salsa.democracyinaction.org/o/2486/unsubscribe.jsp