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Damming of Yangtze River's Tributary Successful
The Minjiang River, a major tributary of the mighty Yangtze, China's longest, was dammed 16:20 hours P.M. Saturday as part of a new water control project upstream from the world's oldest irrigation network, the Dujiangyan.

As one of the 10 leading water control projects included in China's current drive to develop the country's mid and western region, the Zipingpu water control project, located at Zipingpu town 50 kilometers upstream the Minjiang river from Chengdu city, is designed chiefly to provide irrigation and water supply to the west Sichuan plain area in southwestern China.

For more than 2,200 years, the vast, fertile plain hinged largely on irrigation from Dujiangyan irrigation works, which has already been incorporated into the World Heritage List of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization.

Five years from now, the 156-meter high Zipingpu dam, which is equivalent to a 50-story tall building, will eventually be able to hold 1.112 billion cubic meters of water and extend acreage under irrigation from the current 672,670 hectares to one million hectares in the locality.

The project's four generating units are designed to have a combined capacity of 760,000 kilowatts.

This largest water control project in Sichuan and dubbed as another "Three Gorges" hydropower project on the Yangtze's high reaches with an estimated cost of 6.24 billion yuan (about US$750 million), was officially launched in late March last year and would be completed in December of 2006. And it would help invigorate and prolong the life span of the ancient Dujiangyan irrigation project by divert water into the irrigation networks during the dry season.

During the dry season, which usually falls from December to next May, the Dujiangyan irrigation network is capable of channeling water at the rate of 28 cubic meters per second to the populous Chengdu city, which now boasts a population of nearly 10 million.

The Zipingpu water control project will increase the rate of water supply to 50 cubic meters per second to ease water shortage in Chengdu, while some 720,000 people and 40,000 hectares of farmland around the city will be protected from the type of exceedingly big flood scourges seen only every 100 years.

(Xinhua News Agency November 24, 2002)

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