China Wants 20 More Dams on the Headwaters of the Yangtze River

three gorges dam photo

While these dams won't be as large as the Three Gorges Dam downstream, picture here, the environmental impact could well be negative. Photo: Wikipedia

Not content with the Three Gorges Dam, at the 3rd Yangtze Forum in Shanghai it's come out that China plans 20 more dams on the headwater tributaries of the Yangtze River, Tibetan Plateau reports. Citing reports from the AP and China Daily, the tributaries to be dammed are the Yalong (Nyachu in Tibetan), Dadu (Gyarong Ngulchu), and Wujiang rivers:
60% of Rivers Hydropower Potential to Be Tapped
There's no word on exact capacity of these dams, but Chinese officials have indicated that by 2020 about 50% of the Yangtze's hydropower resources will be tapped, up from about 36% today. By 2030, about 60% of China's longest river's electricity-producing potential will be harnessed.

Cai Qihua of the Yangtze Water Resources Committee said that by 2030, nor more than 30% of the Yangtze's water resources would be used for agriculture or industry. That's an increase from 17.8% today, in an area likely to see decreasing rainfall in the coming years do to the effects of climate change on precipitation patterns.

There Are Better Hydropower Options Than Large Dams
All of this rightly raises red flags among environmentalists, especially considering the problems with Three Gorges. A recent study by the Chinese Academy of Sciences found that water quality continues to decline in reservoir areas of Three Gorges, with fish stocks declining.

Though it's certainly true that hydropower is a better option than profligate burning of coal for China, surely there are more eco-friendly ways to tap into China's world-leading hydropower resources than continued building of large-scale dams.

via: Tibetan Plateau
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