China Operationalises Dam on Brahmaputra
China yesterday operationalised the USD 1.5 billion Zam Hydropower Station, the largest in Tibet, built on the Brahmaputra river, which has raised concerns in India over the likelihood of disrupting water supplies.
All six of the station’s units were incorporated into the power grid yesterday, the China Gezhouba Group, a major hydropower contractor based in Wuhan, capital of Hubei Province in central China told state-run Xinhua news agency.
Located in the Gyaca County, Shannan Prefecture, the Zam Hydropower Station also known as Zangmu Hydropower Station, harnesses the rich water resources of Brahmaputra known in Tibet as Yarlung Zangbo River, a major river which flows through Tibet into India and later into Bangladesh.
The dam considered to be the world’s highest-altitude hydropower station and the largest of its kind will produce produces 2.5 billion kilowatt-hours of electricity a year.
“It will alleviate the electricity shortage in central Tibet and empower the development of the electricity-strapped region. It is also an important energy base in central Tibet,” the company said.
Officials said when the electricity is ample in the summer season, part of the electricity will be transmitted to the neighbouring Qinghai province, Xinhua report said.
Investment of the hydropower station, about 140 kilometers from Tibetan capital Lhasa, totalled 9.6 billion yuan (about USD 1.5 billion). Reports in the past said besides Zangmu, China is reportedly building few more dams. China seeks to ally Indian fears saying that they are the run-of-the-river projects which were not designed to hold water.
The dams also raised concerns in India over China’s ability to release water in times of conflict which could pose serious risk of flooding.