Water quality remains sound at Three Gorges Dam area

Updated: 2006-11-01 09:18

Little water pollution has been detected at the Three Gorges Dam area since the water level of the gigantic dam reached the 156-meter mark on Friday, the latest monitoring reports show.

The dam area has maintained a sound ecological environment and water in the dam area is still potable, according to Hubei provincial government office in charge of water-pollution control in the Three Gorges Reservoir.

At 156 meters, the Three Gorges Project, which is believed to be the world's largest hydropower project, is fully functional in terms of flood-control, power generation and navigation. The reservoir has stored more than 10.5 billion cubic meters of water.

The flooded area has increased as the water level rose more than 20 meters since September, but the water quality in the reservoir remained good, said Xie Xiufa, a water conservancy specialist and senior engineer with the Yangtze River Water Resources Committee.

Clean-up work was carried out before the reservoir began to store water in June 2003.

By the end of June this year, workers had demolished buildings with a total floor space of 9.2 million square meters in the area to be submerged, and cleared 133,356 sources of pollution and 1.5 million tons of solid waste.

The government plans to spend nearly 40 billion yuan (five billion U.S. dollars) between 2001 and 2010 on at least 150 sewage treatment plants and 170 urban garbage disposal centers to prevent pollution in the Three Gorges Dam and the upper reaches of the Yangtze River.

In Hubei alone, 12 waster water processing facilities and 11 garbage disposal plants had been built and 45 heavily-polluting plants had been shut down over the past five years, according to the report.

Meanwhile, a collection of floating garbage in the reservoir was carried out in February this year.

Officials with the China Yangtze River Three Gorges Project Development Corporation, the project undertaker, claim garbage from upstream will total 100,000 to 200,000 cubic meters annually.

The project involves the cities of Yichang in Hubei and Chongqing Municipality in western China. Local environmental watchdogs are enhancing supervision on the quality of reservoir water.

Beginning 1993, the Three Gorges Project, including a 185-meter-high dam and 26 generators, is built in three phases on the middle reaches of the Yangtze.

The water level in the reservoir will eventually reach 175 meters in 2009, when the Three Gorges project is completed.

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