Tibet's hydropower station won't affect water flows

Updated: 2010-11-18 06:35
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A leading Chinese power company has promised that the world's highest hydropower station in Tibet will not reduce water flows downstream on the Yarlung Zangbo River.

Damming of the river began on November 12, marking the formal start of construction of the 7.9 billion-yuan Zangmu Hydropower Station. The move has caused concern in the downstream countries, including India, who fear the project will disrupt water flows.

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"The river will not be stopped during construction," said Li Chaoyi, chief engineer of China Huaneng Group, the prime contractor for the project.

"After it becomes operational, the river water will flow downstream through water turbines and sluices. So the water volume downstream will not be cut," he said.

Li said environment protection would be a top priority in the construction and operation.

Zangmu Hydropower Station, with six 85-megawatt power generating units, is a key project under China's ambitious plan for Tibet's development.

The station will ease power shortages in central Tibet and boost regional economic development. The first unit will be put into operation in 2014.