Minister: SW China drought not related to Three Gorges

Updated: 2007-03-07 22:49

BEIJING -- Minister of Water Resources Wang Shucheng on Wednesday denied the correlation between the drought in southwest China last year and the Three Gorges Reservoir.

"The drought, mainly in the southwest municipality of Chongqing, took place in the backdrop of global climate change and had nothing to do with the Three Gorges," Wang said.

Last summer, the worst drought in half a century hit the city and Sichuan Province, affecting the drinking water for millions of people. Some people pointed a finger at the Three Gorges, saying the reservoir's water storage affected the flow of the Yangtze River and aggravated the drought.

Wang said extreme and abnormal climate phenomena like drought and flood have occurred more frequently due to global warming in recent years.

The Three Gorges Project is fully functional in terms of flood- control, power generation and navigation, he said. The reservoir has stored more than 10.5 billion cubic meters of water.

The volume of the Three Gorges Reservoir ranks only around the 30th in the world, according to Wang. "Many of the world's gigantic reservoirs have not been blamed for causing climatic problems. Why the Three Gorges reservoir?" the official asked.

The Three Gorges Project is built on the middle reaches of the Yangtze River with a 185-meter-high dam. The entire project is designed to have 26 generators and will be finally finished in 2009.

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