YICHANG: The water level of the Three Gorges Dam will be raised to 175 m this month marking the third and final phase of the project's construction, authorities said Wednesday.
However, the Yangtze River Water Resources Committee, and the China Three Gorges Project Corporation (CTGPC), the builder, did not give an exact date when the water level will be raised.
The level, as of 10 am Wednesday, was 145.84 m a CTGPC source said.
The Three Gorges project, launched in 1993 at a cost of $22.5 billion, is a multi-functional system at the upper and middle reaches of the Yangtze River. It consists of a dam, a five-tier ship lock, and 26 hydropower plants.
All the main works were completed late last month, the CTGPC source said.
A special committee was assigned to inspect the third phase of construction, and the resettlement of residents in the area. It concluded early last month the project was ready for the storage of water 175 m above sea level.
The Water Resources and Hydropower Planning and Design Institute, also said the dam's sluices were safe for operation.
A total of 1.24 million people in Chongqing municipality and Hubei province had to be relocated to make way for the project's construction.
The project's hydroelectric plants, 14 on the left bank and 12 on the right, will produce 84.7 billion kWh of electricity annually. A further six will be built by 2012.
The current 26 plants will all come into operation by November, the project's builders said on Monday.