Zangmu Dam

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Zangmu Dam
Zangmu Dam NF FU.jpg
Rendition of the future dam
Zangmu Dam is located in China
Zangmu Dam
Location of Zangmu Dam
Official name Zangmu Dam
Location Gyaca, Tibet Autonomous Region, China
Coordinates 29°11′06″N 92°31′00″E / 29.18500°N 92.51667°E / 29.18500; 92.51667Coordinates: 29°11′06″N 92°31′00″E / 29.18500°N 92.51667°E / 29.18500; 92.51667
Status Under construction
Construction began 2009
Opening date 2015
Construction cost 7.9 billion yuan (US$1.2 billion) [1]
Dam and spillways
Type of dam Gravity, concrete
Impounds Brahmaputra River
Height 116 m (381 ft)
Length 389 m (1,276 ft)
Width (crest) 19 m (62 ft)[2]
Width (base) 76 m (249 ft)
Reservoir
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)[3]
Power station
Commission date 2014 (est.)
Type Run-of-the-river
Hydraulic head 53.5 m (176 ft) (nominal)
Turbines 6 x 85 MW Francis-type[4]
Installed capacity 510 MW[5]
Annual generation 2.5 billion kWh est.[6]

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.[7] 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.[8] It will be the first dam on the Brahmaputra/Yarlung Zangbo River and has caused controversy in India, which lies downstream.[9][10][11][12]

Background[edit]

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.[13] Currently, there are 28 proposed dams in the basin, Zangmu being the only one approved for construction.[14]

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.[8] Specifications for the dam are uncertain as China has not shared much information.[12] On November 12, 2010, the construction reached coffer dam river closure.[6]

Downstream concerns[edit]

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."[15][16][11][17] 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".[12] 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.[18] The dam though is being "widely interpreted as a clear signal" that more dams on the river will be built in the future.[19] 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.[20]

Design[edit]

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.[3]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ He Haining, Jiang Yannan (17 January 2011). "A new era for Tibet’s rivers". China Dialogue. Retrieved 6 March 2011. 
  2. ^ Dhal Samanta, Pranab (15 October 2009). "China begins building dam on its side of the Brahmaputra". Indian Express. Retrieved 23 June 2011. 
  3. ^ a b "Zangmu Dam Bid" (in Chinese). Chinese government procurement network. Retrieved 29 November 2011. 
  4. ^ "Delivery of Technology to Tibet's Largest Hydropower Plant". Rainpower. Retrieved 29 November 2011. 
  5. ^ "India concerned over China’s hydro power project on Brahmaputra". Energy Business. Retrieved 23 June 2011. 
  6. ^ a b Varma, KJM (16 November 2010). "China Assures India Brahmaputra Dam Not Aimed at It". Beijing: Outlook India. Retrieved 6 March 2011. 
  7. ^ Chellaney, Brahma (2011). Water : Asia's new battleground. Washington, D.C.: Georgetown University Press. p. 160. ISBN 1-58901-771-4. 
  8. ^ a b Hao, Tong (2009-03-04). "Gezhouba wins 1.14b yuan hydropower contract". China Daily. Retrieved 28 August 2010. 
  9. ^ "Dammed rivers". The Economist. Oct 19, 2009. Retrieved 28 August 2010. 
  10. ^ "Damming Tibet's Yarlung Tsangpo-Brahmaputra and other South Asian rivers". Tibetan Plateau. May 24, 2010. Retrieved 28 August 2010. 
  11. ^ a b Ranjan, Rajiv (August 12, 2010). "Damming The Brahmaputra: Setback To South Asian Stability?". Retrieved 28 August 2010. 
  12. ^ a b c "India taking up China dam issue: Arunachal Min". Zee News. August 11, 2010. Retrieved 28 August 2010. 
  13. ^ "Yajiang Tibet into a large hydroelectric power station era marked" (in Chinese). China Dialogue. 1 January 2011. Retrieved 29 November 2011. 
  14. ^ "Push for new dams across Brahmaputra as China faces drought". The Hindu. 10 June 2011. Retrieved 29 November 2011. 
  15. ^ Zarir Hussain, Syed (October 20, 2009). "No Chinese dam over Brahmaputra - PM assures Arunachal". Thaindian News. Retrieved 28 August 2010. 
  16. ^ "China says dam on Brahmaputra won't affect river flow: Govt". Rediff News. April 22, 2010. Retrieved 28 August 2010. 
  17. ^ "China denies building dam on Brahmaputra; NRSA’s evidence suggests otherwise". Dance With Shadows. November 7, 2009. Retrieved 28 August 2010. 
  18. ^ "China is not reducing height of dam on Brahmaputra river, says intelligence report". India Today. 20 June 2011. Retrieved 29 November 2011. 
  19. ^ Krishnan, Ananth (11 February 2011). "In China, record drought brings focus on water security". The Hindu. Retrieved 6 March 2011. 
  20. ^ "China gives go-ahead for three new Brahmaputra dams". The Hindu. 30 January 2013. Retrieved 19 June 2013.