China's Dams

Dam on Brahmaputra won’t affect India: China

(April 29, 2011) China on Friday said its proposed dam on the Brahmaputra river in Tibet is not a “very big one” to cause concern in India and Bangladesh, claiming that it would not lead to any major change in the quantum of the water flow to the countries downstream.

“At present, the hydropower station on the Yarlung Tsangpo (Brahmaputra) river is not a very big one and will not lead to any big change in the downstream water levels or affect the harnessing efforts by the downstream countries,” Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Jiang Yu told a media briefing here.

Jiang was responding to a question on concerns in the neighbourhood over some of China’s projects on inter-state rivers.

China, which is planning to build a USD 1.2 billion run of the river dam to generate 510 mw power, has assured India several times, including during the visit of Prime Minister, Wen Jiabao to New Delhi last year, that it was not aimed at diverting the river waters to affect the flow to India and other lower riparian countries.

Four expert-level talks have been held to exchange provision of hydrological data and flood management.

Jiang said China will fully consider the potential impact on the downstream countries.

On Vietnam’s concerns about similar project over Mekong river, she said “during the course of the process of development of water resources, we have conducted serious and careful scientific studies before the development of the project.”

“Taking into consideration the concerns of the downstream countries, we have taken a lot of environment protection measures,” she said, adding that surveys have shown that the project will have very limited impact on water availability downstream.

“This conclusion is also shared by many international environmental protection organisations. So I would like to stress that China consistently follows the foreign policy of establishing friendly and good neighbourly relations with neighbouring countries. We will not do anything that harms such relations,” Jiang said.

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