A plan to build a series of hydroelectric power stations within
the Dujiangyan, the world's oldest irrigation system and World
Heritage site, in Sichuan Province, has sparked controversy
A report by the Dujiangyan administration bureau on the
development of the Botiao River within the Dujiangyan, said up to
10 plants would be built along the 44-km-long river.
However, Chen Qingheng, a researcher with the Chengdu ecological
research center under the Chinese Academy of Sciences, said: "It is
irrational to build such stations as they will destroy the natural
ecology along the river.
"Moreover, they will affect the local drinking water."
The Botiao River, which is one of four tributaries of the Min
River, is the main source of drinking water for people living in
"We can tackle water pollution there by other means, we don't
have to build power plants. The hydroelectric project will actually
pose new threats to water quality as it will destroy the ecological
environment," Chen said.
Along with the threats to water quality, experts have said the
project will lead to an increase in the river's water level and
that will pose an even greater threat to nearby farms.
Zhao Wenqian, deputy director of the Sichuan provincial academy
of water resources, said: "The hydroelectric project will require a
number of dams to be built and they will raise the water level of
The Botiao will become a hanging river, with its bed higher than
the surrounding environment, Zhao said.
"If the dams are breached, every farm and village in the area
will be at risk," he said.
Sources with the Dujiangyan administration bureau said the
hydroelectric plants, which will cost about 1 billion yuan (US$135
million) to build, will have a combined capacity of more than
A bureau official, who asked not to be named, told China Daily
yesterday that an environmental impact assessment had been ongoing
since June 2006.
Nie Xiuxiang, deputy director of the Sichuan Science and
Technology Association, said: "The assessment should be conducted
not only by the water resource authority, but also environmental
protection, forestry and land resource departments, and other
scientific research institutions to ensure comprehensive
Nie, together with seven other deputies to the local political
consultative committee, submitted a proposal early last year,
calling for "a rational approach to the hydroelectric project".
(China Daily November 2, 2007)