August 8, 2006
The head of China’s State Flood Control and Drought Relief Headquarters has said he is worried about the country’s aging dams, many of which were built in the 1950s and 1960s. ‘Now many dams are already operating beyond their expiry date,’ he said.
Beijing: More than a third of China’s 85,000 dams suffer defects from aging and could be threatened by flooding, the chief of China’s flood-fighting agency said as the country continues to be whipped by storms. The Secretary-General of China’s State Flood Control and Drought Relief Headquarters, E Jingping, said the country has become better at anticipating and withstanding floods, storms and other disasters. But he said in an interview on the Chinese government’s official Web site (www.gov.cn) that China’s aging dams were his biggest worry. “What I fear most is dam collapses, and I think it’s not just me. Party and state leaders at every level fear this,” he said in the interview late on Monday. “China has more than 85,000 dams and over a third suffer from defects. If there’s ever heavy rains, it’s extremely dangerous.” E, whose unusual surname rhymes with “her,” said many of the dams were built in the 1950s and 1960s and would be increasingly dangerous without rapid repairs. “Like people, they also go through a process of aging. Now many dams are already operating beyond their expiry date.”