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Gov't Approves Water Rise in Three Gorges Reservoir
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China's State Council approved at a conference on Friday the raising of the water level in the Three Gorges Reservoir to 156 meters.


The conference was hosted by Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao, who is also chairman of the Committee for Construction of Three Gorges Project (CCTGP). Chinese Vice Premier and vice chairman of the CCTGP Zeng Peiyan, and Chinese State Councilor Hua Jianmin also appeared at the conference.


According to the 15th conference held by the CCTGP and chaired by Premier Wen Jiabao, the Three Gorges Dam, the world's largest hydropower project, will soon reach its target height of 185 meters and begin to play its role in flood-control, power generation and shipping.


Officials said at the conference that currently relocation work for residents is progressing smoothly.


Reports said about 1.25 million people had been moved from their homes to pave way for the giant project.


But the conference also noted that though migrant relocation, environment protection and reservoir management around the dam areas have been strengthened, there are still some problems to solve in the years to come.


Chinese officials urged project operators to tighten supervision over the project since the Dam will soon be completed.


Local officials were also required to make the relocation of residents a priority and try to help the people solve the problems they have encountered.


In addition, the conference encouraged local governments to explore ways to boost economic development of the Dam area by restructuring local economy, accelerating the improvement of infrastructure and developing pillar industries.


To improve environmental protection around the reservoir, Chinese officials require local governments to prevent geological disasters and improve pollution treatment in order to ensure the safety and cleanliness of the reservoir.


The on-going comprehensive audit of the Three Gorges Project that started in March this year was also mentioned in the conference and officials expressed their hope that money is used properly and efficiently in the project.


Launched in 1993, the Three Gorges project, including the 185-m-high dam and 26 generators on both banks of the Yangtze, is being built in three phases on the middle reaches of the Yangtze River, China's longest waterway.


The project is designed to control flooding on the Yangtze River and increase China's electricity production. When the entire project is completed in 2009, it will be able to generate 84.7 billion kwhs of electricity annually.


(Xinhua News Agency May 13, 2006)

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