China's Dams

Member of the National Committee of CPPCC urges hydro development on the Nu River

(March 4, 2013) In a throwback to Maoist propaganda, a member of China’s National Committee of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference has promised that building a rash of dams on China’s Nu River will cure all ills, and bring harmonious development, and leap-forward development to boot. In reality, scientists worry that the dams will trigger earthquakes and landslides and be unable to operate at full capacity for lack of water. Downstream countries are also worried about the loss of natural river flow on which their economies depend.

Below is a translation of a Yunnan Daily article regarding four dams slated for the Nu River in Yunnan Province, and the status of feasibility studies, hydropower plans, and a Nu River strategic environmental assessment.

Member of the National Committee of CPPCC Urges Hydro Development on the Nu River

Published by Yunnan Info Daily on March 4, 2013

Weixiang Feng, a member of the National Committee of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference, submitted a proposal to suggest that governmental departments ratify as soon as possible the “Hydropower Planning Report on the Middle and Lower Nu River,” and launch the Nu River hydropower development.

Weixiang Feng said, the revision work of the three documents: “Comprehensive Planning Report of the Nu Region,” “Hydropower Planning Report on the Middle and Lower Nu River,” and the “Assessment Report on Environmental Impact of Hydropower Development on Middle and Lower Nu” are basically completed. The survey and design process of the pre-feasibility study stage of three hydropower stations, Liuku, Saige and Yabiluo, have also reached an end. Maji hydropower station is carrying survey and design work in the pre-feasibility study period, and the government is further deepening the pre-feasibility studies of Nu hydropower development. China has recently issued “12th Five-Year Plan for energy development,” “12th Five-Year Plan for renewable energy development,” and “12th Five-Year Plan for hydropower development,” which confirm the launch of Nu River development during the 12th Five Year Plan period. In the meantime, “Yi Ku Si Ji” project (build 4-levels hydro station in one reservoir) will be a key project in the period.

The hydropower resource on the Nu River, with its large runoffs, excellent geological conditions, fewer immigrants, smaller flooded area and low cost, is the only and the most suitable resource in the region. It is rich in water resources; meanwhile its cyclic utilization, economic benefits and environmental benefits should all be taken into account. In addition to power generation, flood control and other direct benefits, it can also improve the conditions of transportation and other infrastructure, promote tourism and other related industries, promote rural labor transfer from primary industry to secondary and tertiary industries, gradually eliminate the backward, inefficient farming methods which destroy the ecological environment, and provide necessary investment to ensure ecological and environmental protection and restoration, therefore leading the Nu River Basin into a stage of scientific development, harmonious development, and leap-forward development.

(Translated by Guo Xin)

The original version of this article in Chinese is available at the publisher’s website here.

Further Reading

Campaigners re-ignite Nu River dam debate

About 60,000 could lose homes for controversial Nu River dams

Mega-dams in China’s earthquake zones could have “disastrous consequences”

Earthquake Hazards and Large Dams in Western China

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