Category: China’s Dams

Once again: Sichuan quake highlights dam risk

The 7.0-magnitude earthquake in southwest China’s Sichuan province earlier this month and a devastating 2008 quake in the same province are likely linked to the region’s dam-building program, says expert.

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Joy as China shelves plans to dam ‘angry river’

Environmentalists celebrate as Beijing appears to abandon plans to build mega dams on its Grand Canyon of the East. Although dam-building isn’t off the table in other parts of China, activists say Beijing is deterred in this case by growing concern for the environment, the wisdom of dam construction in areas of high seismicity and – most importantly – the economics of large-scale dams that no longer make financial sense in a slowing Chinese economy, in combination with the scale of difficulty in transmitting electricity from remote regions to the rest of the country.

China’s damming of the river: A policy in disguise

China’s dam-building spree on the Tibetan Plateau has given Beijing immense leverage as controller of the region’s “blue gold” and with that power comes responsibility. For starters, to permit an open assessment of the impacts of these projects – particularly given the region’s vulnerability to seismic risk – and to share those findings with neighboring countries and the people most directly affected by dam construction upheaval.

Disgorging

More on the Three Gorges Dam’s flood control capabilities and its performance in one of the wettest seasons for China since the record-breaking El Niño event of 1997-98. In this report, The Economist concludes the country’s weakened river pulse is “in danger not only from floods but from its flood controls.”

Too many dams to look after

As China continues to embrace a new era of hydropower expansion, demand for dam inspection has outpaced the country’s supply of inspectors, ramping up safety fears for thousands of small- and medium-sized dams in China’s rural areas that have been “ignored”, reports Ecns.cn.

Mekong Delta loses half of silt to upstream dams: scientists

A soft shield of silt that took over 6,000 years to form and which protects the ‘rice bowl’ of Vietnam against intrusion from seawater, erosion and declining groundwater levels has been seriously stripped by Chinese dams on the Mekong River, say experts. Half of the river’s essential sediment is now trapped upstream and the delta may be in jeopardy of disappearing altogether. Thanh Nien News reports.

The myth of sustainable hydropower

2016 will be a decisive year for hydropower projects on the mainstream Mekong. Southeast-Asia based journalist, Tom Fawthrop, looks at the notion of ‘nice dams’ that supposedly don’t inflict too much damage on their surrounding environments and their opposite reality: the hidden costs of hydropower and the irreversible destruction of unique ecosystems.