Three Gorges Probe

Pushing ahead with Tiger Leaping Gorge project would be a mistake, CPPCC member warns

(March 19, 2001) A CPPCC member urges an open feasibility study, including public consultations, on the plan to dam one of the most magnificent canyons on earth.

From China Youth Daily (Zhongguo qingnian bao): Ren Yuling, a member of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC) and an adviser to the State Council, has argued that in the absence of an open feasibility study, pushing ahead with the project at Tiger Leaping Gorge would be a mistake.

One of the nine bills Mr. Ren submitted to the annual CPPCC congress was titled: “Suggestion on conducting an open feasibility study on the proposed reservoir at Tiger Leaping Gorge on the Yangtze.” In his bill, Mr. Ren pointed out that Tiger Leaping Gorge is one of the most magnificent canyons on earth and an integral part of the Three Parallel Rivers heritage site. The plan to build a dam at Tiger Leaping Gorge has raised widespread concern in China since 2004. More and more people, including environmental and water-resources experts, have questioned the wisdom of the project and demanded an open feasibility study.

The scheme is designed to divert water from the Jinsha [upper Yangtze] River in the Tiger Leaping Gorge area in order to supply central Yunnan province, including the provincial capital, Kunming, and other cities such as Chuxiong and Dali. Steps have been taken to push the project forward, including the establishment of a hydropower development corporation on the middle reaches of the Jinsha.

A cascade of seven dams in the middle reaches is already under way, with some at the survey and design stage, and others under construction. “We have to learn the lesson of the Zipingpu dam on the Min River,” Mr. Ren told China Youth Daily. “We will be making a big mistake if we do the same to Tiger Leaping Gorge.”

As Mr. Ren explained, the project authority on the Min River first built the Zipingpu dam and then tried hard to push ahead with the Yangliuhu dam between Zipingpu and the ancient Dujiangyan irrigation scheme downstream. Fortunately, that plan was abandoned because of its potential harmful impacts on Dujiangyan, which has worked perfectly for more than 2,000 years.

Mr. Ren has warned that the project authority at Tiger Leaping Gorge is likely to repeat the same strategy of using an existing project to build further schemes on the Jinsha River, which would be to the detriment of Tiger Leaping Gorge and the country as a whole. An open feasibility study should be conducted as soon as possible, he said. Ren Yuling has worked at the State Council and the Ministry of Science and Technology for years, and has travelled to the Nu valley several times. Mr. Ren hopes that the decision on building the dams will be made through an open feasibility study process, with different interest groups consulted, according to the law. The public should also have greater access to information about the proposed project at Tiger Leaping Gorge.

China Youth Daily, March 19, 2001

Categories: Three Gorges Probe

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