Rendition of the future dam
|Official name||Zangmu Dam|
|Location||Gyaca, Tibet Autonomous Region, China|
|Construction cost||7.9 billion yuan (US$1.2 billion) |
|Dam and spillways|
|Type of dam||Gravity, concrete|
|Length||389 m (1,276 ft)|
|Height||116 m (381 ft)|
|Width (crest)||19 m (62 ft)|
|Width (base)||76 m (249 ft)|
|Active capacity||86,600,000 m3 (70,208 acre·ft) (daily)|
|Catchment area||157,668 km2 (60,876 sq mi)|
|Normal elevation||3,310 m (10,860 ft)|
|Commission date||2014 (est.)|
|Hydraulic head||53.5 m (176 ft) (nominal)|
|Turbines||6 x 85 MW Francis-type|
|Installed capacity||510 MW|
|Annual generation||2.5 billion kWh est.|
The Zangmu Dam (藏木) is a gravity dam currently under construction on the Brahmaputra River 9 km (5.6 mi) northwest of Gyaca in the Tibet Autonomous Region of China. The purpose of the dam is hydroelectric power production using run-of-the-river technology. It is part of the Zangmu Hydropower Project and will support a 510 MW power station. Construction began in 2009 and is expected to be complete in 2015. It will be the first dam on the Brahmaputra/Yarlung Zangbo River and has caused controversy in India, which lies downstream.
In 1972, the Chinese Academy of Sciences created the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau Comprehensive Scientific Expedition which in part studied conditions in the Tsangpo-Brahmaputra River basin. The study concluded that 114,000 MW of hydroelectric power generation capacity could be established in the basin, 79,000 MW from the main stem alone. A more in-depth hydrological study began in 1980 which identified 12 sites for dams. It was envisioned that the dams could alleviate power shortages in Lhasa. During the 1980s and 1980s, work failed to commence in the basin. Currently, there are 28 proposed dams in the basin, Zangmu being the only one approved for construction.
In April 2009, China's Gezhouba Group was awarded a $167 million contract for the Zangmu Hydropower Project. According to the company, the contract is for the design and construction of the dam along with its power house. The project will require 3,400,000 m3 (4,400,000 cu yd) of concrete and 8 million tons of aggregate. Specifications for the dam are uncertain as China has not shared much information. On November 12, 2010, the construction reached coffer dam river closure.
As the Brahmaputra River flows into India and Bangladesh, China's plans to construct a dam on the river are not without controversy. Reportedly, China had previously denied that they were constructing a dam on the Brahmaputra River, even after the contract was awarded. In April 2010, Yang Jiechi, their Foreign Minister, officially revealed that they were in fact constructing the Zangmu Dam on the river. China has assured India that the dam is "a small project which will not have any impact on the river's downstream flow into North-East India." Indian officials such as the Arunachal Pradesh Power Minister Jabron Gamlin express that "China's constructing a dam is a cause of concern for us, but we are not certain how big this dam is and what affect it would have on people living downstream". Reportedly, China has refused requests to reduce the height of the dam but the Indian Minister of External Affairs at the time, S. M. Krishna, had asserted that India was not concerned with the dam due to its run-of-the-river design. The dam though is being "widely interpreted as a clear signal" that more dams on the river will be built in the future. In January 2013 China approved three more dams on the river as part of its Twelfth Five Year Plan. The Dagu and Jiexu Dams will be constructed upstream of Zangmu and the Jiacha Dam downstream.
The Zangmu Dam will be a 116 m (381 ft) tall and 389 m (1,276 ft) long concrete gravity-type. On its right bank will be the spillway, plunge pool and bottom outlet (for silt). On the dam's left bank, the retaining dam section with be 80 m (262 ft) tall and have the power plant sit at its toe. The entire dam will be 76 m (249 ft) wide at its base and 19 m (62 ft) wide at its crest. Sitting at the head of a 157,668 km2 (60,876 sq mi) catchment area, the dam's reservoir with have a daily active capacity (pondage) of 86,600,000 m3 (70,208 acre·ft) and normal reservoir elevation of 3,310 m (10,860 ft). The dam's power station will contain six 85 MW Francis turbine-generators for a total installed capacity of 510 MW.
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