China operationalises Zam Hydropower Station on Brahmaputra in Tibet

China has operationalised the Zam Hydropower Station built on Brahmaputra River which has raised concerns in India over the likelihood of disrupting water supplies of River.

Key facts

  • The dam is considered to be the world’s highest-altitude hydropower station and largest of its kind.
  • Annually it will produce produces 2.5 billion kilowatt-hours of electricity.
  • The power station is located in the Gyaca County of Tibet and is considered as the largest in this region.
  • It has six stations to harnesses the rich water resources of Brahmaputra River which is known as Yarlung Zangbo River in Tibet and flows through Tibet into India and later into Bangladesh.

China’s Position: Over India’s fears China mentioned that these projects are run-of-the-river and are not designed to hold water. But India is still concerned over China’s ability and dominance to release water in times of conflict which can pose serious risk of flooding.

Background

  • Earlier in 2013, an Indian Inter-Ministerial Expert Group (IMEG) on the Brahmaputra had called for further monitoring of Chinese dams and considering their impact on the flow of waters to the lower reaches.
  • The IMEG had raised concern over the three dams Zangmu, Jiexu and Jiacha as they are within 25 kms of each other on Brahmaputra River and are located 550 kms from the Indian border.
  • Under an understanding reached in 2013 between both countries, China had agreed to provide more flood data of Brahmaputra River from May to October instead of June to October which was inline with the previous river water agreements signed in 2008 and 2010 respectively.

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Categories: International Current Affairs 2017

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