The Liujiaxia Hydropower Station, northwest China's pivotal hydropower plant, is in danger of water shortage.
The water reserve of the Liujiaxia Reservoir was only 2.6 billion cubic meters at the end of March, less than half of the its capacity, said Gu Minglin, who is in charge of water information of the upper reaches for the Yellow River Water Resources Committee.
The reservoir is near the minimum water level, warned Gu.
Located in the upper reaches of the Yellow River in Gansu Province, the power station is China's first hydropower plant with installed capacity over 1 million kilowatt. It began electric production in 1969.
Since 1997, the upper reaches of the Yellow River has been suffering from drought, which became very serious in 2002.
In 2002, a large volume of water from the river's upper reaches was also diverted to north China's Shandong Province, where people were experiencing a severe drought.
The water shortage in the Liujiaxia Reservoir not only affects the output of the hydropower station, but also threatens production safety.
According to Zhang Xinguo, director of the management department of the Liujiaxia Hydropower Station, the plant plans to generate only 3 billion kwh of electricity this year, about 1.5 billion kwh less than the average annual production of the past several years.
Water shortage also affects the water quality.
"When there is sufficient water in the reservoir, the polluted water will be diluted. But now the water in the reservoir is not enough to deal with the polluted water," said Meng Shunqing, a local expert on water changes.
(Xinhua News Agency March 31, 2003)