(May 8, 2009) According to a recent article in AsiaNews.It, China’s Minister of Water Resources has warned that 37,000 dams are at risk of collapsing if the stronger-than-expected rains persist in the coming months and the tropical storms expected by meteorologists materialize.
“China is plagued by the world’s worst dam hazards,” Minister Chen Lei said in the article. “The test will be particularly hard this year because of the weather and the condition of our dams.”
The country’s dams have a poor track record, with six dams, on average, collapsing every year over the last ten years due to excess rainfall.
The region likely to suffer the most is Sichuan—home to about 90 percent of China’s dams, many of which were damaged in last year’s earthquake.
Worse still, the government has been slow to install warning systems for citizens living downstream. The consequence of catastrophic dam failure brought on by floodwater surges would be certain death for populations living downstream.
The news comes as China has been on a dam building spree over the past two decades, which it hopes will help the country meet its increasing demand for electricity. But Chinese citizens groups and others have called on the Chinese government to suspend construction in light of the emerging risk that dam reservoirs can induce earthquakes and the ongoing investigation into the possibility that China’s deadly earthquake one year ago was induced by the Zipingpu dam
Brady Yauch, Probe International, May 8, 2009
- Open Letter Puts Pressure on Beijing over Secretive Dam Plans – Probe International – September 7 2005
- Damming spree – Frontline (the Hindu) – January 28 1999
Categories: Three Gorges Probe
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