Friday, May 4, 2012

Jinsha River cut up by hydropower magnates

Jinsha River cut up by hydropower magnates
May 4, 2012
By Li Jingrong

The 2,308-km long Jinsha River, the upper reaches of the Yangtze River,
will be cut into pieces by 25 reservoirs, located at every 100 km, in
the near future, the Dazhong Daily reported Friday. The development plan
is dominated by five hydropower magnates.

The development plan includes installing 25 reservoirs with an overall
capacity equaling that of four Three Gorges Dams, according to
Sichuan-based Hengduan Mountains Research Institute and local government.

Twenty-four reservoirs are monopolized by five state-run corporations,
namely China Three Gorges, China Resources, China Datang, China Huadian
and China Huaneng. Only the Jin'an Bridge Power Station was constructed
by privately-run Hanneng Shareholding Group.

The Jinsha River flows through Qinghai, Sichuan and Yunnan provinces in
southwest China. Jinsha means golden sand in Chinese. The hydropower
development plans for the river took off in 2008.

Scientists worry that reservoirs being built in large numbers in the
area, would lead to consequences bad beyond imaginable, especially in
Hunan and Jiangxi provinces in the lower reaches of the Yangtze River.

Yang Yong, a leading scientist of the research institute, said "The
development means the long, surging river will be carved into numerous
sections of calm waters, and lose its grandeur forever."

Weng Lida, director of the Yangtze River Water Resources Protection
Bureau, said that the development plan only gives consideration to
hydropower and hardly takes into account the interests of other parties

"The droughts in Dongting and Poyang lakes in the lower reaches of the
Yangtze River might be getting worse," said Weng, "With the completion
of the water storage project, the silt will be another obvious and
unavoidable problem."

Local government statistics show that the overall installed capacity of
the 10 hydropower stations, from Liyuan to Xiangjiaba in the lower
reaches of the Jinsha River, totals to 62.35 million kilowatt, an
increase of 10.57 million kilowatt from the year 2003.

Chen Kaiqi, a senior engineer of the Ministry of Environmental
Protection, thinks that the unsystematic development has severely
disturbed the local environment. "The eco-system is being damaged and
improper relocation projects have led to a series of social problems as

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