Construction on the main works for a new water control project on the upper reaches of the Minjiang River, a tributary of the mighty Yangtze River, is due to begin later this month.
An agreement on construction of the dam, water diversion works and workshops for power generators, was signed Friday in Chengdu, the capital of southwest China's Sichuan Province, local sources said.
From the west of Chengdu, the Minjiang River flows southwardly and joins the Yangtze at Yibin city, also in Sichuan province.
Listed as one of the 10 major water control projects for China's drive to explore the vast west, the Zipingpu water control project is designed chiefly for irrigation and water supply.
Also designed to play a role in power generation, flood control and environmental protection, the water control project will be installed with four hydro-electricity generating units with a total power of 760,000 kw.
Preparatory work for the Zipingpu project, including building necessary highways, bridges and a diversion tunnel, as well as relocation of local residents, has been completed. The Minjiang River is expected to be dammed for the construction of the main works late this month.
The new water control project is estimated to cost 6.24 billion yuan (about 751 million US dollars) and will be completed in late 2006.
Upon completion, the Zipingpu project will help irrigate more farmland, provide Chengdu city with more water for industrial and living usage and improve flood control capacity at the lower reaches of the Minjiang river.
It will also help prolong the life span of the Dujiangyan dam, which boats a history of over 2,200 years and is cited as the world's oldest functioning irrigation project. The project still irrigates some 667,000 hectares of farmland and has been listed on the World Heritage List of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO).
(Xinhua News Agency November 9, 2002)