February 7, 2002
China will inject 4 billion yuan (US$483.1 million) in the next two years to keep its Three Gorges Reservoir area free of landslides and other geological hazards.
“By June of next year, all parts of the reservoir engineering area susceptible to geological dangers up to 135 metres deep should have been treated,” said Shou Jiahua, vice-minister of land and resources.
According to a mitigation programme to guard against geological hazards in the Three Gorges area, which Shou announced yesterday, this is only the first stage of the decade-long fight. The reservoir will be designed to hold water as deep as 175 metres during severe floods.
Construction of the Three Gorges reservoir began in December 1994 and it will be designed to hold a body of water up to 135 metres deep when completed in June 2003. That is when it will start being used for navigation and electricity generation.
“This long-awaited programme is expected to play an essential role in safeguarding the reservoir and the life and property of residents in the reservoir area,” Shou said.
Because of the complicated natural and geological conditions in the reservoir area, more than 70 landslides, collapses, and mud-rock flows have been recorded along its banks since 1982, killing about 400 people.
“A geological disaster after the reservoir is finished would be serious considering the huge amount of money put in and the large area involved.”
Therefore, the mitigation programme stipulates that under the co-ordination of a leading group organized by the ministry and authorities such as transportation and water resources, local governments should pledge “full” support to preventing natural disasters in the reservoir area.