The roaring Hongshui River in south China's Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region was successfully dammed Thursday morning to pave the way for the construction of a huge hydraulic power station.
The Longtan Power Station, the largest of the 10 hydraulic power works to be built on Hongshui River in the upper reach of Pearl River, will generate 18.7 billion kwh annually when construction works complete in December 2009.
The dam can store 27.3 billion cubic meters and the height of the water will be 400 meters.
As a milestone in China's ambitious project of transferring power generated in the west regions to east China, the station is another huge hydraulic energy project following the Three Gorges Project on the Yangtze River and Xiaolangdi Reservoir on the Yellow River.
Upon completion, the station will have a 192-meter high dam, the highest worldwide, the world largest underground workshop and the world fastest ship lift.
Lu Bing, acting chairman of Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region, said Thursday that the station will play important roles in alleviating damage caused by the frequently flooding Hongshui River and benefiting localities in the lower reaches of the Pearl River.
In 1996, the population endangered by the flooding Hongshui River amounted to 12.01 million and 470,000 hectares of farmland were flooded.
When the station is completed, 3.04 million local residents and 67,000 hectares of farmland will be protected from floods.
The station is also expected to better serve the needs of the relatively developed Guangdong Province in the lower reaches of the Pearl River, and the fast developing Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region in the upper reach of the Pearl River.
Among the 26 counties located along the Hongshui River, 22 report average living standards well below the country's bottom poverty line and over 10 million people need government assistance to sustain a basic living.
Some 24.3 billion yuan (US$2.94 billion) will be invested to construct the station and over 6 billion yuan (US$73 million) will be used to purchase construction materials locally, hopefully generating employment opportunities for people in the region.
(Xinhua News Agency November 6, 2003)