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Reservoir Water 'Cleaner'
The water in the Three Gorges reservoir is becoming cleaner as the reservoir fills up, said local authorities tasked with monitoring the quality of the Yangtze River water as it flows into the huge dam.

Zang Xiaoping, director of water quality monitoring for the Yangtze River valley, said that a two-month-long study showed that by Sunday afternoon, the water in the 150-kilometer area between the Three Gorges dam and Wushan Mountain was cleaner than before.

The water quality had been unaffected by the flooding of the reservoir, and acidity and alkalinity showed little difference from records of past decades.

Zang said that the reservoir had begun to fill naturally before the official flooding began and mud and sand in the water had gradually settled, cleaning the water.

The water level in the reservoir will rise by four to five meters daily and is expected to reach a height of 135 meters by June 15.

On June 16, the permanent ship lock at the Three Gorges Project will go into trial operation. Passage of the ship lock will be free of charge, Cao Guangjing, deputy general manager of the China Yangtze River Three Gorges Project Development Corp, announced yesterday.

By then, navigation on the Yangtze, which has been suspended since last November when the river's natural flow was halted, will resume, allowing ships to pass the gigantic dam in one and a half hours via the 6.44-km lock on the Yangtze's northern bank.

The ship lock, which was completed in April 2002 after about a decade's construction efforts, provides a two-way lifting facility for the 113-meter drop between the upstream and downstream separated by the dam.

According to Cao, operation costs of the ship lock will be covered by the revenue obtained from the sale of electricity generated by the Three Gorges hydro-power project.

The power plant at the project, on the middle reaches of the Yangtze, will contribute more than 3 billion yuan (US$362 million) to help people displaced from the Three Gorges reservoir area.

Cao said collection of the funds would begin after generators are in operation and would continue for 10 years.

"That means every resettled person from the Three Gorges reservoir area will get 380 yuan in financial aid annually for 10 years," said Cao.

Construction of the multi-functional project requires the resettlement of 1.13 million residents, of whom 720,000 have been relocated to date.

(eastday.com June 3, 2003)

Quality Tops Priorities of Three Gorges Project
Three Gorges Reservoir Begins Water Storage
Water Quality Remains Unchanged as Three Gorges Reservoir Fills
Quality of Water in Three Gorges Still High
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