(June 15, 2011) Low water levels in Poyang Lake, due to the Three Gorges reservoir withholding vital water supplies, encourage the Jiangxi government to consider building yet another dam to mitigate water shortages.
Excerpts from an article by Lian Chen
The China Three Gorges Corporation is intent on storing water (from the Yangtze River) behind the giant Three Gorges dam to produce much needed electricity, while communities downstream have been demanding the company discharge more water for much needed irrigation, human use and fishing. The recent drought has highlighted the vulnerability of the region.
The Jiangxi Provincial government is proposing to build a dam that would be designed to compensate for the flow of water that experts say has been diminished by the Three Gorges Dam. This spring’s extended drought caused the Poyang Lake (China’s largest freshwater lake) to drain much more dramatically than in recent past years.
On June 8, the Oriental Morning Post reported that the Jiangxi government plans to offset the lessened water flow from the Yangtze by building a 2,800-meter long dam so it can control and stabilize the lake’s water level.
Provincial officials believe a dam between the Poyang and the Yangtze River would restore the lake’s water level to pre-Three Gorges levels, but many experts say such a structure will only compound the entire watershed’s environmental problems.
“Obviously, the Three Gorges Dam has had a negative effect on the ecology, but it’s unwise to build an almost identical dam,” Liu Shukun, a professor from the China Institute of Water Resources and Hydropower Research, told the Global Times.
Indeed many experts are concerned that yet another dam will only compound the negative effects on human manipulation of Poyang’s ecology.
Statistics show that over the past five decades more than 46,000 dam structures and 7,000 navigation locks have been built along the Yangtze River and its tributaries.
Lian Chen, Global Times, June 15, 2011
Read the complete article here.