i A new era for Tibet’s rivers | Bureau of His Holiness the Dalai Lama

A new era for Tibet’s rivers

Jan. 17 (ChinaDialogue/by Jiang Yannan & He Haining): A series of hydropower stations is proposed for the Yarlung Zangbo (Brahmaputra River). If they are all built, Zangmu dam – now under construction – will be the fourth in a row of five on the Sangri to Gyaca stretch of the river, between the Gyaca and Jiexu plants.

Yan Zhiyong, general manager of China Hydropower Engineering Consulting, said in a recent interview: “By about 2020 … the hydropower industry’s focus will shift to the Jinsha, Lancang, the upper reaches of the Nu River and the Yarlung.

“Hydropower development in Tibet has come late, but it is on the agenda now,” said Fan Xiao, chief engineer for the regional geological survey team at the Sichuan Bureau of Geological Exploration.

What worries Fan is this: “Tibet’s ecology is extremely vulnerable, and would be very hard to restore if damaged. This kind of full-river development can’t just see the Yarlung Zangbo as a hydropower resource – everything needs to be taken into consideration.”

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