China will build a “super” dam on the lower reaches of the Yarlung Zangbo river near to the Line of Actual Keep an eye on (LAC) in Tibet, a state media outline said on Sunday, in a move that could have a far-reaching affect on northeast India’s water security.
Originating in the Tibet Autonomous Region (TAR), the trans-border Yarlung Zangbo flows into Arunachal Pradesh where it is known as Siang and then to Assam as Brahmaputra before flowing into Bangladesh.
The state media outline indicated that the dam could come up in the Medog county of TAR, which is near to Arunachal Pradesh.
China has already built several smaller dams on the Yarlung Zangbo river.
The new dam’s ability to generate hydropower could be three times that of central China’s Three Gorges Dam, which has the largest installed hydropower capacity on the planet.
The new dam will be built with focus on maintaining China’s national security.
“China will build a hydropower project on the Yarlung Zangbo River, some of the major waters in Asia that also passes through India and Bangladesh,” the state-run tabloid Global Times said in a outline on Sunday evening.
“There is not any parallel in history (of the project… it’s going to be a historic possibility for the Chinese hydropower industry,” Yan Zhiyong, chairman of the Power Construction Corp of China, or Powerchina said at a convention final week.
The initial work on the dam began with Powerchina on October 16 signing a strategic cooperation agreement covering the 14th Five-Year Plan with the TAR government.
The news regarding the new dam was once published on an official social media platform of the ruling Communist Party of China’s (CPC) Youth League final week.
Yan added that the hydropower exploitation of the Yarlung Zangbo river downstream “is more than a hydropower project. Additionally it is meaningful for the surroundings, national security, living standards, energy and international cooperation.”
China will “execute hydropower exploitation in the downstream of the Yarlung Zangbo river,” Yan said, adding that the plan put forward in the proposals for formulating the country’s 14th Five-Year Plan (2021-25) and its long-term goals through 2035 made by the CPC’s Central Committee.
According to Yan, the 60 million kWh hydropower exploitation at the downstream of the Yarlung Zangbo river could supply 300 billion kWh of clean, renewable and zero-carbon electricity once a year.
“The project will play a remarkable role in realising China’s goal of reaching a carbon emissions peak before 2030 and carbon neutrality in 2060,” Yan said.
“Speculations approximately China planning to build a ‘super hydropower station’ in Medog county, where the Yarlung Zangbo Grand Canyon is located, have circulated for years. Medog, with a population of approximately 14,000, was once China’s final county to be connected to the out of doors world with a highway,” the Global Times outline said.
Academics have long pointed out China’s strategic virtue over India when it comes to international transboundary rivers.
“China has claimed express ownership over Tibet’s waters, making it an upstream controller of seven of South Asia’s mightiest rivers – the Indus, Ganges, Brahmaputra, Irrawaddy, Salween, Yangtze, and Mekong. These rivers drift into Pakistan, India, Bangladesh, Myanmar, Laos and Vietnam, and form the largest river run-off from any unmarried location…Almost half that water, 48%, runs directly into India,” a Lowy Institute outline said in July this year in the backdrop of the ongoing India-China border friction in eastern Ladakh.
India and China have a water data sharing agreement.
In 2017, China had stopped sharing data soon after the 73-day long stand-off between Indian and Chinese troops at Doklam close the Sikkim border over Chinese military’s plans to build a street near to India’s Chicken Neck hall connecting North-Eastern states.
In 2018, a MoU was once inked between China’s Ministry of Water Resources and India’s Ministry of Water Resources, River Development and Ganga Rejuvenation on sharing hydrological information of the Brahmaputra river in flood season by China to India.
The agreement enables China to supply hydrological data in flood season from May 15 to October 15 yearly. It also enables the Chinese side to supply hydrological data whether water level exceeds mutually agreed level all over non-flood season.
Beijing also shares data on rivers flowing into north India.
But the apprehension that China could “weaponise” cross-border rivers remains.
“For India, the one domain in which China’s status as the “upper riparian” provides an nearly insurmountable challenge is in ensuring shared access to transboundary rivers. And because the recent clashes on the Sino-Indian border have made lucid, India needs to evaluate how China might “weaponise” its virtue over those countries downstream. Keep an eye on over these rivers effectively gives China a chokehold on India’s economy,” the July Lowy outline added.
The Global Times outline quoted an expert saying that dams on cross-border projects cannot be developed without the cooperation between upstream and downstream countries.
“Hydropower projects on cross-border rivers cannot be developed without communication and cooperation between upstream and downstream countries,” Lin Boqiang, director of the China Center for Energy Economics Research at Xiamen University, told the tabloid.[ad_2]