Another deadly landslide at a hydropower construction site in Fujian, south-east China, highlights the growing risks of dam building in mountainous regions of Asia. Chinadialogue.net reports.
The author of “Meltdown in Tibet” challenges China’s claims its cascade dams planned for the trans-boundary Brahmaputra River pose no impacts for downstream communities. “These dams are just the start of things,” he says. If all the proposed dams go into operation “the river will never be the same again”. Free Press Journal reports.
(June 20, 2013) A new report says the global push to reduce greenhouse gases by building small dams, with the help of the Kyoto Protocol, is causing unanticipated and potentially significant losses to habitat and biodiversity.
(June 3, 2013) News that an environmental impact assessment (EIA) for China’s tallest dam was approved last month by the Ministry of Environmental Protection is a signal that developers and politicians in China understand well the green-washing power of EIAs to move forward destructive projects.
(June 1, 2013) New research from Oregon State University reveals small dams are no easier on the environment than their larger counterparts and often present more of a threat to their surroundings. The comparison between 31 small dams built on tributaries to China’s Nu River and four large dams proposed for the main stem of the same river, found the effects of the smaller dams were worse for nine out of the 14 characteristics studied. Habitat loss and damage at several dam sites show that the environmental effects of small dams are often greater, sometimes by several orders of magnitude. “A lack of regulation paired with a dearth of communication between small dam projects in China allows for the effects to multiply and accumulate through several dam sites,” say researchers.
(November 29, 2012) As the most dammed country in the world and the largest exporter of dams abroad, China ranks as a hydropower-producing powerhouse with a wealth of experience that should inspire reassurance. The opposite is often the case, however, given China’s disregard for international social and environmental standards, both at home and overseas. A new action guide produced by the US-based environmental NGO, International Rivers Network, aims to help watchdogs of China’s ‘going out’ projects in their efforts to ensure safety and the rights of local communities affected by Chinese dam construction.
(October 31, 2012) “Earthquake Hazards and Large Dams in Western China,” the Probe International report authored by geologist John Jackson, has set China’s academic and industry circles astir. As the debate over Jackson’s findings heats up, the respected Caixin Media magazine, New Century Weekly, looks at both sides of the debate and the specific issues Jackson’s explosive report has raised.
(May 11, 2012) Chinese hydropower magnates plan to build 25 new dam reservoirs on the Yangtze’s upper reaches despite warnings of seismic risks from dam-building overload in the area, and in spite of recent evacuation efforts due to the threat of geological disaster at Three Gorges.
(October 20, 2011) Two recent reports show that China’s hydropower output has fallen drastically over the past year, as decreased runoff from major rivers has led to falling reservoir levels in China’s major dams. The Bureau of Statistics stated that hydropower output was one-fifth lower than last September, while the National Development and Reform Commission measured a decrease of 24.5% – a loss of nearly a quarter.
This Guardian article describes the case of Shennongjia, a region choked with dams, which caused a scandal in the Chinese media when the extent of official corruption and mismangement became clear.
(May 23, 2011) A government audit of Three Gorges Corp., the operator of the Three Gorges Dam, discovered 31 financial problems relating to “accounting, financial management, investment, bidding and corporate management”. Dai Qing is quoted on water shortfalls caused by the dam in this Wall Street Journal article.
(May 18, 2011) Chongqing’s biggest hydropower development is set to begin construction after adjustments to a fish conservation area on the Yangtze river were agreed to by the State Council.
(May 10, 2011) Much has been written on the downstream impact of China’s dams on the Lancang-Mekong River, which flows through or along the borders of five other countries after exiting China. Most of the discussion relates to the hydrological impact of impounding water in the eight dams along the mainstream Lancang Jiang in Yunnan Province.
(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.
(April 19, 2011) China defended its ambitious network of dams Tuesday, saying that it is developing its rivers in a responsible way and would never do anything to harm the interests of neighbours who live downstream of the Tibetan plateau.